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Green Building Materials Sources:

If you’re building a home or making improvements to your home, you can save money and build greener by using recycled building materials. While Santa Monica is a city where green building is becoming more prevalent, there aren’t that many places in the city to buy construction materials. However, some sources are located in Santa Monica and nearby.

The City of Santa Monica’s Office of Sustainability and the Environment (OSE) has a Green Building page on the sm.gov website. It features the Green Building code requirements, guidelines for design, and a list of local suppliers of materials.

Among the recycled materials on the OSE list are things like brick nuggets, rubber mulch, glass mulch, recycled plastic furniture products, and bricks. The sources are companies throughout the Los Angeles area, including some local places like Bourget Brothers.

Brendan McEneany, Green Building program Advisor for OSE, says that the challenge of compiling such a list is “keeping it up to date,” as products come and go.

He noted that recyclable building materials tend more toward materials like glass, stone, or metal rather than wood. There is also a difference, he observed, between “recycled” and “re-used” materials. The latter are materials that don’t have to be processed-for example, stone or concrete that can be used for landscaping does not have to be reprocessed or reclaimed but can be used as is.

Bourget Brothers (1636 11th Street, Santa Monica, 310.450.6556) is a great source for recycled and re-used building goods. Bourget Brothers customer service representative Miguel Macario told the Mirror about some of the most popular materials sold by the store.

“We have crushed glass, used for putting at bottoms of fountains, also for ground cover.” The glass comes in different colors and can be quite decorative.

Old railroad ties are another item that can be salvaged. Macario says the ties are used for landscapes, for creating beds for growing vegetables, and for making retaining walls for hillsides.

Bourget also has used bricks of many sizes, shapes, colors, and brands. Used bricks can be used for building garden walls or for facades for homes.

“One of our biggest items is broken concrete,” said Macario. “In Santa Monica it’s used a lot for landscaping, for planter walls, and even for paving. You don’t know how many palettes of broken concrete we send out every week.”

Prices at Bourget are quite reasonable. A 50 lb. bag of crushed glass sells for $108; an eight to nine foot railroad tie for $14.99; and used bricks go for anywhere between 79 cents and $1.17 depending of the type of brick.

epOxyGreen Sustainable Design Showroom (2434 Lincoln Boulevard, Venice, 310.578.2123) was started four years ago and has become the largest sustainable design /build showroom in Southern California. Manager Ben Russell says the showroom sells “all kinds of recycled materials.” Recycled insulation is available, made, says Russell, from plastic bottles, fiberglass, and even old denim jeans.

For flooring, green builders might want to use EcoTimber Woven Recycled Poplar, a 100 percent recycled poplar floor that is also formaldehyde-free. Counter tops and tiles are available, made from recycled cork, tile, glass, even marble. Also available are recycled stone, reclaimed wood, and metal tile.

Recycled glass comes in 15 colors, in clear, frosted, and iridescent finishes, and can be installed in interior and exterior floors and walls, or pool linings. Recycled metal tile is made from aluminum and brass, comes in aluminum, brass, and patina shades, and in brushed, vibrated, and sandblasted finishes.

Prices are available by calling epOxyGreen at 310.578.2123.

Of course, although it does not have a local outlet, Habitat for Humanity offers reused and reclaimed building materials at its ReStores. The nearest ReStores are located in Pasadena (626.792.3838) and Norwalk (562.863.4663).

More information is available at the web sites: epoxygreen.com, bourgetbrothers.com, habitat.org, and smgreen.org

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