Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Deconstruction & ReUse Network Launches this week at Alt Build Expo in Santa Monica, Calif.

Here is our official press release:


Organization launches Deconstruction Program this week at “Alternative Building & Design Expo”

Los Angeles, CA – April 22, 2008: The Deconstruction & Building Materials ReUse Network, Inc. (Deconstruction/ReUse Network) will launch its deconstruction program this “earth” week at the 5th Annual Alternative Building & Design Expo in Santa Monica April 25 and 26. Deconstruction/ReUse Network is a non-profit organization committed to integrating practical, industry-friendly solutions for deconstruction, while building greater cooperation and collaboration with for-profit and non-profit business organizations to achieve reuse. All deconstruction is performed by licensed, for-profit professional contractors and all quality materials are reused. Finished materials are resold through a partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles and reclaimed rough lumber is donated to the Baja California home building ministry Corazon, for use in helping to build communities through their programs and repairing homes near their community centers in Tijuana and Tecate.

Lorenz Schilling, who worked to develop deconstruction solutions for six years, says he recognized a need to motivate homeowners and building industry professionals with more user-friendly and feel-good solutions. “We need to listen and respond to building industry professionals with practical solutions which at the same time offer tangible results in order for them to abandon demolition and adopt these practices on a broader basis. This just was not happening,” says Schilling. “I think it’s important to motivate people beyond their wallets and environmental concerns to respond on a social or humanitarian level as well.”

Deconstruction/ReUse Network brings together homeowners, contractors, architects, civic leaders, waste-diversion professionals, environmental advocates and for-profit and nonprofit organizations in a quest for common solutions to the staggering problem of C&D waste. Homeowners donate their home to The Deconstruction & Building Materials ReUse Network, who inventories the materials and coordinates with member contractors to facilitate the deconstruction process. Deconstruction/ReUseNetwork then donates and distributes the materials to non-profits that construct affordable housing, thereby completing the circle of reuse.

Visit Us at:
The Alternative Building & Design Expo
Santa Monica Civic Auditorium
Friday, April 25 & Saturday, April 26
Booth #103 (next to our partner Habitat for Humanity in booth 104)

About Deconstruction and Building Materials ReUse Network:
The Deconstruction and Building Materials ReUse Network (
www.reusenetwork.org) is an environmental public benefit corporation, 501(c)(3), promoting and empowering deconstruction practices and the reuse of quality building materials. The organization is headquartered in Orange County, California and offers deconstruction programs in Northern and Southern California. All work is performed by licensed for-profit professionals.

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Earth Day Post: Confessions of a Polluter

Hi, My name is Lorenz and I’m an addict.

I’m addicted to a big truck. I’ve been using a Chevy 2500 HD Crew Cab for 4 years now. I don’t have another back-up vehicle. I drive it all over Southern California. It gets 12 miles to the gallon - on good days. In 2006, I spent over $6,000 in gas.

Worse, I just started an environmental non-profit. What a hypocrite, right!

Sometimes I haul stuff in my truck as part of my work. I try to use this as part of my justification. I need the truck. I save stuff like doors and windows and try to do good things with them. I drive around promoting deconstruction.

For all the stuff I keep out of the landfill (my positive environmental contribution) I wonder whether I just cancel it all out with the truck I drive.

I wonder what my carbon footprint is compared to others. I feel like a sinner as I roar down the freeway in my big truck – especially when I pass somebody with a Prius. I can’t help but think what a better and smarter person they are than me.

If someone wants to donate a Prius to our little non-profit organization, I swear I’ll limit my truck use to just the times I’m really hauling material or towing something, or meeting with a demolition contractor I want to make feel comfortable. (Demo contractors are suspicious of guys driving little environmental cars, you know. I’ve been over it and over it in my head and I’m sure it doesn’t have anything to do with my own insecurities.)

But back to the Prius or Smart Car, or Ethanol powered vehicle that some generous company will surely donate to our little start up environmental organization…

…sorry, I have a tendency to fantasize. It’s just that as gas prices rise and rise, the pressure to change my gas guzzling ways gets more and more intense!

I hate this situation! I am so conflicted! Honestly, I really, really love my big truck. My roommate drives a brand new 2008 Lexus RX 350 and I would prefer to drive my 7 year old truck any day.

Three of my neighbors just bought brand new crew cab diesel trucks. Two Dodge’s and one Ford – all ¾ ton! We’re all crazy in this country! We’re addicted to big cars! But I’ve got something on those losers… I’m clearly a far better recycler than they are! You should see our recycling bin versus theirs. Let me tell you something, we’ve got it going on at our house!

That’s right. I might drive a big truck, but my massive guilt compels me to be the best trash recycler on my block, baby!

Thanks for letting me share. My name is Lorenz, and I’m an addict.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Reusable Building Materials can be Used to Build a New Home in One Day

If we were accounting for weeks on a Euro calendar, last week (ending on Sunday, April 13) would have been a very good week. Mid week Charles told me he had been putting out the “vibe” into the Los Angeles Basin and inquiries about deconstruction were on the rise for us.

Despite the positive “vibe” Charles had been generating, I still found room for a bit of doom and gloom. After talking to a couple of confidants late in the week, I think I managed to identify the source of my negativism and had begun to turn the tide on my “tude.” But for me, having an ebbing “tude” (which could be a double-negative and is unlike an ebb tide) probably only gets me to a place of slack.

Ok. I'll stop with the double talk and word-smithing. Slack, meaning I rarely allow myself the luxury of getting too pumped up or confident. So despite the vibe Charles was putting out and many other good things that were happening, I managed to reduce my expectations when going to the Corazon 30th Anniversary Picnic on Sunday in Irvine. I even told my new friend Erin (a Corazon "Blue Shirt" volunteer leader) when arriving at the picnic that I was probably going about my approach to Corazon leaders in the wrong way. Oh, the self doubt!
My wish since starting the ReUse Network about a year ago, was that working together with other complimentary non-profits (and for-profits) we could achieve more tangible results with the tons of rough lumber we would ultimately reclaim through the deconstruction process in Southern California.

Corazon builds homes in Mexico and runs six community centers between Tijuana and Tecate where they teach construction classes, along with computer, sewing, bike repair, welding and gardening classes. If they could incorporate some or all of the lumber from our deconstruction projects into their programs, whether it was in framing or used as blocking, or into home repair or room additions, or their construction training classes...it would be huge!

So yesterday was big for me and was a reminder that prayer works, and that I should pray and be thankful more often. But I had reduced my expectations before the picnic in order to protect myself, thinking of the many reasons the lumber would be a burden to Corazon's operation and they would not want it. Fortunantly, they didn't see things that way. Quite the opposite, actually; Tery Mackprang (Corazon President) was very entusiastic about all the things they could do with the lumber. Among other things, Terry said they could begin to catch up on some of the 50 or so room additions they were behind on. He said they have great access for tractor-trailers at at least on of their Tijuana facilities, and they also have ideal places to store the lumber in fenced and secured areas at several of their community centers and that they'd borrow or buy a forklift.

Needless to say I could not have been more pleased and more blown away by their enthusiasm.

So - it was a good day, and a good week.

Helping others. Just another great reason to keep thinking outside the roll-off!

(There are more pictures from Corazon build on March 29th posted on the Re-Use Network website, where you can see what the organization does nearly every weekend)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Manhattan Beach Home Recycling in Progress

If you've never seen deconstruction at work, we just posted some photos on our Reuse Network website that show the great resuable materials we've been able to donate to our partners at Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles.

Beautiful doors, kitchen cabinets, lighting fixtures, sinks and toilets have been diverted from local landfills and better yet, will be sold at the Habitat for Humanity Home Improvement Store in Gardena to help build more affordable housing.

If you are remodelling and think you may have resuable materials, please contact me, it's never too late to recycle your house.

Remember, let's all keep thinking "outside the roll-off."

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

It's All About Thinking "Outside the Roll-Off"

Ok, here goes! My first blog entry. I’ve made a rule for myself which I hope someone tell me the reasonableness or unreasonableness of – someone being another experienced blogger. The rule is that I’m only allowed to backspace to correct misspellings. You see, I don’t really free write well at all. I craft when I write and I don’t know that crafting is appropriate for blogging. The point is now simply that I’m writing…

My wonderful P.R. person Angela Moore, who protects me from myself and keeps me on message, has directed me to get going on the subject area I of course have a passion for and that’s deconstruction and building materials reuse.

I must admit this is not a natural passion for me but rather a learned passion. That means there’s hope for other people. If I can learn to have a passion for saving stuff (building materials, namely) that can still be reused, then other people smarter than me might be able to do it, maybe not with a passion, but because it makes sense to many deliberate and rational thinking people when introduced to the concept and its benefits.

The concept (I just backspaced through about five words. I’m a cheater already!) is that we have reusable value and basis in the building materials that comprise the dwellings we live in and that when we build a new house or remodel our existing residence – we can do good things with these materials instead of just tossing them in a landfill. We can put these materials to work for ourselves and/or others.

I used to marvel at my Grandfather’s ability to utilize the embodied energy in his old tools long after most people nowadays would have gone out and purchased a new rake or shovel. Not Fred! All that rake needed was a small brace and two bolts and it was good to go for another ten years!

Maybe Fred was an extreme dude, but why do we toss perfectly good lumber out? Why can’t we use used lumber as blocking in new homes? Ask the timber industry.

Just think if we required that all new home construction incorporated 10% of framing lumber from reuse sources. Maybe that’s an unrealistic percentage, but the point is we could reduce the need for cutting down trees by demanding we do more with the lumber from the trees that we cut down 30 or 90 years ago. And our landfills would be less burdened.

Why don’t we do this already? Well, there are certain things in this country we’re not very good at conserving. (I just backspaced through another whole sentence because I know I’m rambling).

Maybe the answer is simply that someone needs to come up with a better system for getting it done. Getting what done? - getting more reusable materials into the reuse stream and out of the solid waste stream.

Yes, we all know reuse happens sporadically and recycling happens more and more, but we still throw the vast majority of these materials under a trackloader and then into our landfills. We have a lot of room for improvement. Actually the area of demolition is probably the area on most construction sites where waste volumes can be most dramatically reduced.

Next time I’ll share how I got into the demolition and/or deconstruction and reuse industry or niche and where it and the Reuse Network are currently.

Until then, keep thinking outside the roll-off!
Deconstruction And Buildingmaterials Reuse Network Inc