Before Heading to St. Thomas, Check Out IGBA’s New ReSource Depot for Affordable Construction Materials

Workers load a beautiful wooden stairway being doanted to IGBA’s ReSource Depot.

IGBA’s ReSource Depot already has a lot to offer builders looking to save some money.

Constructing a new home or in the middle of a renovation project and looking to save some serious money while helping to reduce the island’s waste stream?

Look no further than the Island Green Building Association’s new ReSource Depot, located at the Storage on Site container on Gifft Hill Road across from the Susanaberg Transfer Station.

The depot accepts donations of quality construction materials and since IGBA is a 501(c)3 organization, donors can receive receipts for tax deductions. The program is truly a win for the builder, the donor and the environment, according to information from IGBA.

“Homeowners will find affordable materials, contractors pass savings on to their customers, and the landfills and waste stream are reduced,” according to the information from IGBA. “Since IGBA is a nonprofit organization, receipts for donations will be given to all donors for tax purposes. Proceeds fund the Depot’s operations and educational outreach to promote green building and environmentally responsible island living.”

The concept for the depot, which offers new or like new construction materials at deeply discounted rates, arose from a similar shop located in IGBA executive director Karen Vahling’s former town of Ft. Collins, Colorado.

“My husband and I shopped and donated at a similar store when we lived in Ft. Collins, Colorado,” said Vahling. “It saved us lots of money on remodel projects and we got a tax deduction for leftover donated items.”

Vahling and other IGBA board members, however, took that concept one step further, she explained.

“The ReSource Depot idea was further developed by the IGBA board over a year ago, as part of a larger plan for a Green ReSource Center, which will offer educational programs and demonstrations in green building, new green building and erosion control materials, native plants, and workshops on sustainable living,” she said. “Revenue from the ReSource Depot will be put towards this goal and our programs that promote responsible, sustainable development on St. John.”

IGBA has already received multiple donations with many new items coming from Harith Wickrema’s renovated villa Eco-Serendib, according to Vahling.

“Right now we have about 80 percent brand new items, thanks to a donor who renovated his villa,  Harith Wickrema of Eco-Serendip villa,” said Vahling. “It is so nice when people give back to the community and help keep materials in use and affordable. The materials don’t need to be extracted from the earth again, manufactured and shipped if they are already here and at a fraction of the price.”

“Nor do they need to go to our overburdened landfills,” said the IGBA executive director. “We currently have windows, doors, plumbing, electrical, fixtures, tile, roof tile, and even a beautiful new mahogany staircase that would be a lovely addition to an island home.”

For now the depot is only staffed by volunteers and only open on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. or by appointment. Residents can also view IGBA’s entire inventory at its virtual ReSource Depot on the website, under Programs.

Residents support the depot by dropping items during the Saturday hours, according to Vahling.

“People can donate by dropping off items during our Saturday hours or by appointment,” she said. “A call ahead is appreciated, to be sure items are acceptable and that we have space reserved. Pickups can be arranged too.”

IGBA will accept pretty much any kind of construction material — and IGBA membership is not required — so don’t overlook anything as a possible donation, Vahling added.

“We want to make building and repairs affordable and accessible for all, and keep materials in use once they are here,” she said. “We accept lumber, tile, brick, block, rebar, windows, doors, fixtures, sinks, plumbing, electrical, tools, garden items and even marine supplies. Pretty much anything that makes a home.”

“We do not accept chemicals, beds, broken or very damaged items,” said Vahling. “IGBA membership is not a requirement; ReSource Depot is a ‘ReSource’ for everyone in the community. Items are priced at half of retail or less and without ferry fares or shipping to get it.”

To ensure the depot’s success, residents are needed to volunteer for a variety of roles, explained IGBA’s executive director.

“We need volunteers for Saturdays from 10 to noon, to pick up donations, inventory and organize, help write grants and assist with fundraising activities,” she said. “We need an accountant’s (hopefully volunteer) time. And of course we need those items people have left over from their own projects, so we can get things into the hands of someone who needs it for their home, and give you a tax receipt for it.”

Looking ahead, Vahling foresees a time when IGBA’s ReSource Depot is the first stop for construction and building materials.

“The ReSource Depot could turn into a way to build/repair homes for those in need after hurricanes or fire, and we will give special consideration to those who demonstrate financial hardship,” said Vahling. “The Depot could serve as a model and be done throughout the territory. For now, the Storage on Site container is a good place to start, with low overhead and a great location, and they can give us more or less containers as our inventory supply changes.’

“But we are looking for a more permanent place to be a warehouse and educational facility — which we would turn into a model green building and demonstration site,” she said.

For more information about IGBA’s ReSource Depot, call Vahling at 227-1110 or email