Homeowner Aims for Maximum Environmental Savings
Los Angeles, CA – May 27, 2009: As the first fully compliant single family residential project to meet the standards of Beverly Hills’ new Green Building Program, owners Steve Dubin and Brenda Ellerin have started this project by deconstructing their existing home with the help of the environmental and humanitarian non-profit Deconstruction & ReUse Network (DRN). For the next several weeks deconstruction crews will carefully dismantle the home, saving all the reusable building materials. DRN will, in-turn, distribute and donate the materials to other complimentary organizations like Habitat for Humanity’s Home Improvement Store and the housing ministry Corazon, a community development and home building organization operating in northern Baja. DRN estimates close to 200 tons, or as much as 85% of the home will be reused or recycled. This would be the equivalent of approximately 50 roll-off bins.
“The first step in building green should be deconstruction,” says Lorenz Schilling, founder of DRN. “In the past, ironically, removing the materials in the existing structure has been the last thing property owners think about, even though it’s the first thing they must do. We’re working hard to educate and empower property owners, industry professionals, and city officials across the state that planning for deconstruction can save valuable physical and financial resources for all involved.”
Mr. Dubin and Ms. Ellerin’s home was originally built in 1948 and has many valuable, re-useable materials. DRN first inventories the entire home and identifies the materials to be saved. Next, items such as appliances, windows, doors, cabinetry, flooring, plumbing and lighting fixtures, etc., are removed and taken to a partner Habitat for Humanity affiliate ReStore. The items from this project will be available for purchase at the Gardena Home Improvement Store over the next several weeks. The next phase of the project will be dismantling the home’s roofing components and framing; carefully removing lumber, roof tiles and brick. Once all the lumber has been inventoried for donation and diversion documentation, it will be shipped to Corazon ministries in Tijuana to be re-used in the building of affordable homes, instead of being turned into mulch or burned for fuel.
Architect Marc Whipple of Russell Group Architects was a driving force behind the project’s sustainable emphasis, which was fast-tracked by the City of Beverly Hills Building & Safety; an incentive the City offers to encourage more green building within its boundaries. “Sustainable residential design is a new emphasis for our group, as it is for many architects these days. But it’s really been a team effort,” said Whipple. “The folks at the city have really worked with us to make this project happen in a timely manor and encourage this model project.”
General contractor Joe Griffith says, “In the past, there was very little thought given to reusing elements from a structure to be demolished other then saving some of the large pieces of framing lumber. The demo process was plainly ‘out with the old, in with the new.’ We would even have a pre demo day where the owners and their kids could go wild spray painting walls, breaking windows, just tearing the place up before the heavy equipment rolled through. It’s good to see we’re all starting to be more productive with the reusable assets in unwanted buildings. Instead of using a portable bathroom that contains a ton of chemicals, we’re building a small latrine, connecting an existing toilet to the sewer line, all in an effort to be more eco-friendly. I’m very excited to be putting this project together in a sustainable way from start to finish.”
Owner Dubin said, “The existing house had a lot of high quality, beautiful features and finishes. While we have a different vision for the property, we wanted to preserve as much of the house as possible. Deconstructing the house and donating the materials, while more expensive and time-consuming, seemed to be the logical move. Our goal is help get the word out that this is an easy process. When I tell people what we’re doing, they all say the same thing: ‘I wish we would have done that when we tore our house down’.”
Deconstruction & ReUse Network works with deconstruction contractors, architects and municipalities to develop simple solutions for homeowners to deconstruct as an alternative to traditional demolition. A typical 2,500 square-foot home yields 10 tons of reusable lumber that can be used to build homes for families in need, rather than end up in landfills or as mulch. The organization works with other complimentary non-profits that help complete its circle of reuse, and help families build or improve their homes. It also provides all necessary documentation for property owner tax-deductions stemming from the donation of a building’s reusable parts. For more information about how deconstruction works please visit www.Decon-Network.org
About Deconstruction & ReUse Network:
Deconstruction & ReUse Network is an environmental public benefit corporation 501(c)(3), whose mission is to promote and empower deconstruction practices and to grow a greater reuse network for quality building materials through partnerships with complimentary operations and organizations. Deconstruction & ReUse Network currently serves Northern and Southern California with partnerships that benefit Habitat for Humanity and Corazon. www.Decon-Network.org
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