"Deconstruction" becoming popular

July 17, 2008 4:20:50 PM PDT
Are you building a home or remodeling one? There may be a way to save some cash and help the environment. It's becoming more and more popular.

In tonight's Green Team report, Gene Apodaca takes us through a process that benefits builders and homeowners.

Like so many people Taras Hamilton needs to update his business -- the only problem is that he rents and doesn't want to spend too much money.

"It's better if I could put something in it that I'm not paying full price for, because when I'm done with the lease I'll be walking away from the building," Hamilton said.

That's where deconstruction comes in.

It's a hot new trend that's not just good for the environment, but good for the pocketbook, too.

It all begins with a tear-down.

Through an agreement with the owner, volunteers cherry pick used building material that can be recycled.

That material is then shipped to a warehouse run by Habitat for Humanity.

"We take gently used, donated materials, and then resell them to the general public," Habitat for Humanity representative Lee Schnell said.

Out of one project, volunteers managed to save 5.5 tons of electrical wire and 25,000 feet of red wood flooring, all items that would have ended up in the trash that can now be resold at a fraction of the cost.

The concept is certainly not new.

Historic Houston has been recycling building materials since 2002. They focus mainly on historic materials buyers simply can't find in any other stores.

"We can't even get some material like longleaf pine," Lynn Edmundson, former director of Historic Houston, said. "We just don't have it available anymore."

The benefits of deconstruction are many. First off, it cost consumers less and preserves old architecture.

"The amount of historic building material thrown away every year is just phenomenal," Edmundson said.

Also, it more importantly keeps the Earth a little cleaner.

"Our landfills are full now of things that aren't biodegradable, and some of these things are reusable, and [deconstruction] just keeps excess out of the landfills," Hamilton said.

Aside from helping the environment, homeowners can see other benefits. By donating their old building materials, it could cut down on their demolition costs. They could also get a tax write-off.

If you'd like to get involved with Habitat For Humanity, click here, or use this link to find out more about Historic Houston.

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