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Mission Hill's first net zero carbon building is the renovated home for building materials reuse center

The newly renovated Reuse Center at Boston Building Resources is now open in Roxbury Crossing. The “green” net-zero carbon building is the first of its kind in Boston’s Mission Hill and serves as a groundbreaking example of how a metal warehouse-style building can be retrofitted to the highest energy efficiency standards. It opened to the public on March 27, and a weeklong reopening celebration is scheduled for April 19–23 to coincide with Earth Day.

Located at 88 Terrace Street, the Reuse Center at BBR takes in donations of reusable building materials, which gain a second life improving local homes rather than heading for the trash. “We’re proud that the environmental work we have been advancing since the Reuse Center opened in 1993 now has a building worthy of the work we do,” said Rick Ames, Chair of the Boston Building Resources board of directors.

The 9,024-square-foot warehouse is heated and cooled using electrical power generated by a 43.2-kilowatt, 114-panel rooftop solar array. The building’s outer walls were retrofitted with foam insulation panels to retain heated and conditioned air. Other improvements include better lighting, an expanded receiving area for incoming donations, and an additional space to display available materials. Customers, volunteers, and visitors will find a greatly improved experience.

Equally important to the environment is the work that takes place inside the renovated facility: keeping good-quality reusable building materials out of the waste stream and making them available at affordable prices, with discounts to customers with lower incomes. A new layout improves the efficiency of the workflow at the Reuse Center, making it possible to take in, evaluate, and display more donated materials. Shoppers can more easily find and purchase the items they need with improved racks, lighting, and checkout. Used materials have been incorporated in a variety of ways.

A reopening celebration week will kick off Monday, April 19, and coincide with Earth Day, featuring daily discounts, online virtual tours, and other festivities. Details are available at BostonBuildingResources.com.

Project funders include the Amelia Peabody Charitable Fund, Barr Foundation, Berkshire Bank, Cricket Foundation, Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation, Fieldstone Foundation, Harold Whitworth Pierce Charitable Trust, Jane’s Trust, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, Mission Hill Fenway Neighborhood Trust, and Needham Bank. Charitable contributions are still being sought to fully fund the $1.8 million project cost.

The building was designed by Black River Architects; building contractor was Landmark Structures.

The Reuse Center at Boston Building Resources is open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 8:30 to 4:30, Thursday from 8:30 to 7:00, and Saturday from 9:30 to 3:00.

The Reuse Center at Boston Building Resources is a charitable nonprofit organization. It is affiliated with, but financially separate from, the consumer cooperative at Boston Building Resources, a member-owned retailer of new building materials. More information is available at BostonBuildingResources.com.

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For anyone who enjoys doing home repair or working on various creative projects, this place a is a real treasure. I can't always find what I want at the Reuse Center, but I can often find something I can work with at a bargain price. Over the years I've bought a bunch of nice kitchen cabinets, a spiral staircase and various other building material for a fraction of the new price. I am glad that they are so invested in their mission and staying where they are. Hopefully they will outlast me!

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I got my first real job there, and it was the best place ever. You wouldn't believe the cool stuff that shows up. It's also a great place for crafter people--making door desks or window frame picture frames and such. Gotta say though, it was chilly in the winter! It's awesome they have upgraded the warehouse to make it so efficient.

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Try the Habitat for Humanity Restore - several locations in the area: https://www.habitat.org/restores

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