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We have received our building permit! Learn more about our renovation plans and how you can help make them a reality at our Permit Party on October 21.

Since we set up shop in two shipping containers in 1993, the Reuse Center at Boston Building Resources has come a long way. We now provide affordable building materials to 2,100 low- and moderate-income customers each year—materials that would otherwise be headed for the landfill. Instead of being needlessly wasted, reusable cabinet sets, doors, windows, appliances, and other materials donated to the Reuse Center receive a productive “second life” improving local homes.

Our mission has grown to the point where it is limited by the size and configuration of our building. With significant renovations to allow more efficient use of space, we can continue to grow while remaining in our accessible and convenient location.

By making these changes, we can achieve:

  • Increased capacity to receive, process, and sell donated building materials to our customers.

  • More homeowners able to repair, maintain, and improve their houses, helping make homeownership more affordable.

  • Greatly reduced climate impact and operating costs resulting from building envelope upgrades and solar power.

  • An improved experience for customers, volunteers, and staff, leading to more return visits and referrals.

Project Budget

Construction $1,247,380
Professional services $159,988
Furniture, furnishings, & equipment $25,350
Solar photovoltaic array $130,000
Maintenance endowment $100,000
Other costs $69,700
Total $1,732,418


Ways to give

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In addition to making a direct contribution to our renovation campaign, you can consider giving in the following ways. The Reuse Center at BBR is a nonprofit charitable organization, so contributions are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.

  • A one-time cash gift

  • A gift of appreciated securities

  • A gift of an IRA required minimum distribution (RMD)

  • Giving in installments over two or three years (for gifts of $7,500 and over)

Please email us for more information about these methods of giving.

Net zero energy and carbon

Our renovated building is designed to produce all the energy it consumes on an annual basis through a carbon-free renewable source. The all-electric building will include:

  • Insulation upgrades to the envelope (5-inch R-38 roof, 4-inch R-31 walls)

  • New all-electric HVAC equipment that reduces energy consumption

  • A 160-panel, 55-kilowatt rooftop solar array to generate power

This exemplary building will demonstrate net-zero technology for customers, members, and neighbors, and offer a comfortable facility that will be a source of pride for employees, customers, and neighbors.

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Renovation highlights

  • A larger, more efficient receiving area will make it possible to take in and process more donated building materials and to move items to the sales floor more quickly.

  • The new receiving area will be tailored to our workflow so we can make the most efficient use of staff and volunteer labor.

  • An 816-square-foot addition to the front of the building will create retail space and add display windows to draw the attention of passersby.

  • With an HVAC system, customers will be more comfortable, leading to longer and more frequent shopping trips.

  • A better checkout area will accommodate large item purchases.

  • More attractive displays and improved lighting will allow customers to find the materials they need more easily.

  • Moving donor drop-offs and company vehicles to the rear of the building will improve traffic flow by freeing up the parking area for customers only.

  • An interior vehicle bay will reduce the impact of weather and temperature on our truck and van, extending their useful life.

Frequently asked questions

What is “reuse” vs. “recycling”?

  • Recycling means breaking the materials down into their raw material state so they can be made into different materials—plastics melted down, paper ground up, etc.

  • Reuse means the materials are used again “as is.” Reuse has a greater environmental benefit than recycling.

Why renovate now?

  • Because of escalating housing costs, the dream of homeownership in Boston is slipping out of reach of our lower- and middle-income residents. Those who have managed to purchase a home must pay increasing taxes, insurance, and utility costs, leaving very little financial resources for necessary repairs and maintenance.

  • Those at greatest risk of being priced out of their communities are residents of color. African Americans and Latinos have much lower homeownership rates than whites.

  • More building and remodeling contractors are aware of the possibility of donating unneeded building materials, and are being motivated to do so by regulations, costs, and customer demand. The supply of reusable material is expected to remain abundant.

How do used building materials help solve the problem of affordable housing?

  • Several local organizations offer first-time homebuyer classes, but there are few resources to support these homebuyers in becoming successful long-term homeowners once they have completed the purchase.

  • All buildings need periodic maintenance and repairs to prevent deterioration and keep them in good condition. If a lower-income owner can’t afford repairs, small problems can grow to become health and safety risks.

  • Used materials cost about 20% of what new materials would cost from a typical big-box store, often for better quality. On a limited budget, a homeowner can complete more projects with used materials. Additionally, BBR offers substantial price discounts to income-qualified customers—usually one-third off the public price.

  • In addition to materials, Boston Building Resources offers workshops where homeowners can learn do-it-yourself skills to do their own projects and establish a knowledge base that allows them to work successfully with contractors.

What is the environmental benefit of reusing building materials?

  • In 2014, 534 million tons of construction and demolition debris was generated in the United States, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. While some of this material can be recycled (returned to raw-material state), items made up of a variety of component parts (wood, metal, polymers) can be difficult to break down and are often discarded.

  • Whenever something is manufactured, energy is used to create, package, and transport the material to its ultimate destination; this is known as “embodied energy.” Giving a longer lifespan to that material conserves the embodied energy rather than having more energy expended to manufacture replacement materials.

Campaign supporters to date


Amelia Peabody Charitable Fund
Cricket Foundation
Harold Whitworth Pierce Charitable Trust
Jane's Trust
Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
Richard F. Perkins 2004 Charitable Lead Trust
Anonymous Foundation

Companies and organizations

Anthony E. Ercolini Insurance Agency, Inc.
Artistic Sign Co.
Avest Home Repair and Painting
Boylston Associates
Food Link
Hansen Electric
Landmark Structures Corp.
Mechanical Solutions
Rhino Public Relations


Lorraine & Robert Anderson
Mitchell Barden & Nancy Koch
Teresa Betit
Susanne & Colin Blair
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