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Stop Global Warming - Shop SAS!
18 Apr 2020
April 22, 2020 marks the 50th Anniversary of Earthday - the global celebration of all things natural. I'm going to geek out on you for a second, and share with you the environmental mission of Sarasota Architectural Salvage.
I have a Master of Science in Environmental Resource Management. That's how I got into Salvage. That's why I started Sarasota Architectural Salvage. I believe the work we do helps lighten the load on the planet, create jobs, and preserve habitat for nature's threatened species. I love this business, because the things we sell support my personal mission to reduce demand for carbon, resources, and energy, while simultaneously boosting the local economy, putting people to work, and supporting the community.
Recycling/repurposing embodied energy is one of the coolest concepts that bounces around in my head. Let me describe what it is. Think about an old beam in an old house. There was a tree somewhere. It grew for 100, maybe 200 years. All that time it was pulling carbon out of the air, converting solar energy into wood, providing shade and habitat for animals. Then it was harvested, hauled to a mill, cut to specifications, transported to the jobsite, and installed. All that environmental energy inputs became embodied in the tree as well as all the further energy impacts to make it into a product and get it to market.
Then it sat in that house for 80, 100 years. Not too shabby! But when that house is going to get knocked down, how much better would it be for the world, if all that embodied energy was paid forward, and the beam gets reused! That's the concept of the products and materials that we sell.
And then there's the offset costs of using a reclaimed product versus buying new. The new product has all the impacts of production and transportation, plus think about the tree. It grows in an ecosystem, it provides habitat and food for other living organisms. Trees mitigate pollution, provide areas for groundwater recharge, slow the surface flow of rainwater (good thing), and create beneficial microclimates. Forests are typically far away from the cities where the forestry products are used, transportation is a huge energy input.
Remember, every time I say "energy input" you can read that as "potential contributor to global warming." Not burning fossil fuels, not harvesting trees, and allowing carbon to be sequestered in plants, that all helps reduce global warming. Of course, not eating meat helps a lot too, but that's another story as well. And I like meat, so I choose to focus on the urban / consumer carbon footprint, and reducing that as much as possible.
Current production is typically, anything but local. Since we are a global economy, a lot more items are shipped a lot farther than they used to be. So there's huge unrealized energy costs in buying new. Furthermore, these are typically not local jobs. And supporting local businesses support locals, who then in turn go out and support other local businesses.
Every product in my store goes through my "matrix of sustainability" which means that I've assessed it as having some benefit beyond my hope and dream that it will sell. Of course, that is important, too. If we just salvaged stuff and filled up the warehouse, we just made a very expensive landfill. What we buy needs to find its way into someone's home, thus assuring the preservation of embodied energy, and the paying it forward - the guiltless use of our reclaimed products to build anything you want.
Now I'm not saying every item in my store is salvaged or locally made. But I assure you that they are the majority of our products, and that damn near everything has some environmental or social value.
That's why I say "Stop global warming - Buy at Sarasota Salvage".
So that's my Earthday speech. Thanks for reading. I'm happy to talk with you about this some more. It's my passion.