The Rebuilding Exchange comes to the neighborhood


Retail space in the Rebuilding Exchange

On a recent buying trip to the Rebuilding Exchange a rehabber made the following purchases: 9 doors: solid wood, walnut veneer, no hardware, various sizes, excellent condition; 24 windows: double pane, sealed, unframed; 1 vintage bathtub, stainless steel, therapeutic, with bubbler and built-in thermometer. Total tab: $555.00.

The toughest part of a new construction or rehab project is keeping costs within budget and it seems the larger the project the more opportunities to go into the red. Either because of government fiat or a refined social conscience, or both, the builder/rehabber must also take into account the costs of the project to the environment.


Going green can start with a salvaged door

We've all heard the story: "going green ain't cheap." Complexity, cutting edge technology, retrofitting and products that have yet to hit their mass-production stride often require larger initial outlays when compared with existing systems and practices. Often, savings aren't realized for years or even decades after the project's completion. However, builders have always known that one of the best ways to keep costs low is to reuse what's readily, and cheaply, available. How many stones in Vatican City were originally used in the Roman Forum or one of the city's many ancient temples? How many people today use nineteenth century Chicago street pavers on their patios?

Masonry: bricks and terra cotta

Enter the Rebuilding Exchange. As a start-up funded by the non-profit Delta Institute, whose mission is to foster a green economy in the Great Lakes region, the Rebuilding Exchange's goal has been to replace the usual blunt instrument of demolition with deconstruction's velvet hammer approach. Working with local contractors the Rebuilding Exchange deconstruction experts (and experts in training), the new green collar trade, divert salvageable construction and demolition (C&D) material from the landfill waist stream by gently extracting the reusable materials. These materials are then resold to the building trade and the general public.


Wall O' windows and doors

This concept is based on a successful model initiated by the their partner the ReUse People of America who have been at this since the early 90s. The building project's developer uses the accrued tax deductions from the donated material to offset the additional costs involved in doing deconstruction versus the usual scorched-earth demolition practices. The Rebuilding Exchange will also accept straight donations of any new or used construction/building material as long as it is in good, "clean" in their


The eclectic and the utilitarian, all in one shopping trip.

parlance, condition.Since their inception in 2009 the Rebuilding Exchange has prevented over 3,000 tons of reusable building material from becoming landfill all the while saving money for everyone from developers to casual rehabbers. Their success has meant that their original retail outlet on 47th street has proved inadequate for the space requirements of the material collected. Hence the move to larger facility at Ashland and Webster that has the added benefit of being closer to one of their larger customer bases: Bucktown and Wicker Park.

A trip to the new facility on opening day revealed the extent and diversity of the material for sale: kitchen appliances and cabinets, bath fixtures, bricks and terra cotta, windows and doors and wood, lots and lots of wood, everything from 2X4s' to 10' fir beams. And then there's that Stainless Steel bathtub.The Rebuilding Exchange is located 2160 N. Ashland Ave. Parking and the entrance are at the back of the building. Enter off Webster right before you get to the Metra viaduct. Their annual fundraiser, Rebuild 2011, is March 12. Call 773.847.3761 or go to their website.



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