As the culture of America changes, so does the language. A relatively new term for people living in cities (urban establishments) is “urbanite”. But, as the language evolves, so does the definition and meaning of words.
Twenty-first century urban dwellers have taken advantage of the last generation’s detritus of abandoned blocks of buildings. They have purchased them cheaply, and rehabbed them into high end, pricey lofts, tony apartments, restored historic masterpieces, and updated office complexes. Startup companies, chic boutiques, niche restaurants and other unique business ventures are flocking to inner cities to inhabit work and dwelling spaces where a green lifestyle is a reality for thousands.
A second wave of rehabbing is underway as the structures see redefined meaning, form and function. Now the question becomes what to do with the unwanted construction debris taken down, broken apart, and unusable in the new urban scene.
To stay true to the green commitment, many items are recycled (copper piping, kitchen and bath fixtures, wood treasures such as mantelpieces, etc.) reused, upcycled or transformed into beautiful additions to reformed dwellings. Many items go for high prices as vintage restorers seek period pieces.
But some items, such as broken up concrete, seems destined for the junk heap. But not necessarily. Hence, the creation of a “new” building material derived from cast off old building debris. Urbanite is now becoming a highly sought after green building material that is often free, very plentiful, and a tribute to energy saving, planet friendly engineering.
Urbanite is the name for reclaimed, recycled concrete (the demolition leftovers) from redone roads, buildings, and sidewalks. It is typically broken up by heavy machinery, and either thrown in ditches, the landfill, or is left sitting in giant yards or alongside roads. The stuff can be found literally everywhere, once you actually notice it. Urbanite can be locally sourced at construction sites or found on Craigslist, and is usually free if you are willing to haul it away.
However, this material is perfect for building the foundations of homes and other structures, giving all of that concrete a second and much more beautiful life. Urbanite is a great symbol for a green building revolution.
Bloggers interested in sustainable building materials have reported using urbanite for patios, walkways, flower beds, fire pits, retaining walls and other outdoor structures. Urbanite can be used to create a patio or walkway that looks similar to flagstone. Some urbanite enthusiasts have even stained the pieces of concrete with environmentally friendly products for an added decorative appeal. The spaces between the urbanite pieces can be filled with sand or gravel, or planted with ground cover that will grow nicely between them.
Additional green aspects of urbanite include:
• It is non- biodegradable and will last for a thousand years (as seen in any post apocalypse sci-fi movie).
• It is easy to work with and can be cut and shaped into any size.
• It reduces landfill waste.
• It can be used for structures or ground smaller as fill or a base for mixing with other construction or landscape materials.
• It is quite permeable so it will help prevent water runoff pollution.
• Construction companies are thrilled that you will want it. It saves them hauling and landfill costs. They might even deliver it to you for free.
• It can be colored or stained with green products like soy based inks.
• It takes little or no energy production to use.
• It is the perfect symbol for green building.
Negative aspects are few. It is heavy. If you don’t live near a construction site, it may require time or hauling costs. It may be mixed with other unwanted construction debris and require physical effort to separate. But if you are committed to green living, it can fit your needs well.
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