Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Think Kids Don't Care about Global Warming? Think Again.

Alec Loorz is 15 years old, a Freshman at El Camino High School, a drummer for the band, State of Emergency. But there's another reason why he rocks...
He founded Kids vs Global Warming when he was 12 years old after watching Al Gore’s movie, “an inconvenient truth.” Alec felt compelled to tell other kids about the problems we are facing. He created a presentation made specifically for youth, full of videos, animation, easy-to-understand science, and compelling motivation for kids K-college ages. He gave over 30 global warming presentations before being invited by Al Gore to be formally trained with the Climate Project in October of 2008. He is now the youngest trained presenter with The Climate Project. You can read more about him here.
Check out his blog and see how this young guy is taking action...well done, Alec!

Read Related Posts:
Scrap School is Giving Scrap Metal a Second Chance Life

California's Universities LEEDing the way in Green Building: Event hosted by UC Santa Barbara Marks 8th Annual UC/CSU/CCC Sustainability Conference

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Oh Mr. President, Please don’t Demolish those Buildings!

I’m blogging because I’m upset by a NY Times article discussing the President’s job creation plan. The article to which I refer is "Tear Down That House". I am most concerned about the following:

Well, here’s a proposition: Cities and towns across the country are the default owners of hundreds of thousands of abandoned and derelict single-family houses, apartment buildings and factories. These places are a blight on our communities.

The federal government should reimburse cities and towns who hire people from the unemployment rolls to tear down these structures, clean up the properties and, if there is no immediate buyer for them, to turn them into green spaces.

I realize some of these structures need to come down. Before the government gives the green light to demolition them please STOP! This is not environmentally friendly. There is an alternative. DECONSTRUCTION not demolition.

Deconstruction will also employ more people. Deconstruction is done by hand. Crews of people facilitate the process. Demolition employs an equipment operator and project manager and a few other people. Additionally, those materials can be diverted from the landfill and can be reused.

34 billion tons of construction waste ends up in the landfill. Deconstructing a 2,500 sq ft home can divert as much as 25 tons from the landfill in addition to the normal recycling done at the jobsite. This is what we do every day. Please visit our website: and see what is possible. Use those stimulus dollars to support the green industry, to create more jobs and in some cases, support non-profit organizations.

Please Mr. President, rethink this.

Read Related posts:
Why Wouldn't You Choose to Deconstruct?

Recycling Homes Should be a Matter of Conscious, Not Stimulus Money

Monday, December 7, 2009

Maybe if it Comes From Robert Redford, People will Listen

In a blog post by Robert Redford, he talks about how important it is for the US to lead the way in the green economy, I just hope we all listen and take action:

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham recently said at a news conference that “the green economy is coming.” I couldn’t agree with him more. The signs are all around us, from studies that show green jobs are growing 2.5 times faster than conventional jobs to the fact that California’s clean energy industry attracted $6.5 billion in venture capital in the past three years.

These are just the signs from our own shores. From China to Germany, there is no doubt that nations are beginning to see the financial wisdom in preventing the exorbitant costs of global warming by putting clean energy solutions in place now.

The only question that remains is: Will America be a leader in the green economy?

Read the entire post here.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Composting 101

I came across this video about composting, some good info and tips. I am a big fan of ReUse of all kinds, as you've probably guessed by now. Enjoy!

Composting 101

Thanks to Sierra Club Green Home for posting.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Test Your Knoweldge About Electronics Recycling

Just came across this quiz at Mother Nature Network that tests your knowledge on electronics recycling. Go ahead, try it out.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Join us for Corazon's "Build A House in a Day" Event on December 12

Corazon (one of our fantastic reuse partners) will be constructing a home in Tijuana on Saturday, December 12th as part of its "Build a House in a Day" program. Together with volunteers, they will construct a 16 X 20 foot home. Volunteers are needed & tools you should bring include gloves, tool belt, hammer, paintbrushes and rollers.

To learn more about volunteering with Corazon, visit their website. I'll be there along with a few members of our DRN team...hope to build with you!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Interviewed at West Coast Green 09

I want to say thank you to Jennifer Davidson of Furnicology for supporting our organization.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Meet The Planet Radio Show (Nov. 1)

I was recently interviewed by Meet The Planet radio show and it aired last weekend. You can hear it now on-demand.

Thanks to Meet The Planet for their support!

Monday, October 26, 2009

San Francisco's Bold New Recycing Law is in Effect

Last June, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, signed a new law that would require residents and businesses to start composting food waste, plant trimmings and other items. This is the first City to mandate this to residents and businesses (Seattle was the first to have a compost law, but it doesn't include businesses and apartment buildings.)

This is going to be very interesting to watch, I personally hope it is a huge success and that it becomes the norm all over the U.S. It may even inspire folks to start composting on their own and feed it back into their own soil. For this, I recommend using reclaimed materials, like those our clients donate to Habitat for Humanity stores and those found on DiggersList.

How do you feel about composting? Do you currently compost? Please share your comments.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Competitive Recycling; How Does Your School Measure Up?

Posted by Lyndsy Czapla:

Did you know that colleges and universities all across the United States are taking recycling to a whole new level? It is all part of an annual competition presented by RecycleMania. The idea of RecycleMania revolves around promoting waste reduction on campus communities and bringing great awareness to the importance of recycling for now and in the future. The competition began in 2001 with only two schools involved and has grown larger each year. In 2009, the competition included colleges and universities from each of the 50 states including the District of Columbia. The competition lasts for 10 weeks. According to RecycleMania’s website, schools report recycling and trash data which are then ranked according to who collects the largest amount of recyclables per capita, the largest amount of total recyclables, the least amount of trash per capita, or have the highest recycling rate. With the reports and rankings that are submitted each week, the schools have the ability to watch how their results compare with other schools. It also allows the schools to unite their campus communities and fellow peers to reduce and recycle more, before the competition is complete. So far, there are 30 schools signed up for the upcoming 2010 competition. To read more on this fantastic competition and participating schools, click here.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Regional Energy Alliance puts V.C. ahead of curve : Opinion : Ventura County Star

In response to the governor’s Climate Change Summit, local readers will be interested in knowing that a collaborative effort has been under way for nearly a decade in Ventura County, working behind the scenes to advance the region in energy efficiency, renewable energy and positioning for the green economy.

Read more>>Regional Energy Alliance puts V.C. ahead of curve : Opinion : Ventura County Star

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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Miramar Resort's Historic Blue Roofing Tiles Get Second Life!

Almost 11 years ago, my sister Shelley heard the Miramar was about to close its doors and suggested we go there and be one of the last people there. We made it a small family vacation.

If you’ ve never been to the Miramar Resort, it reminded me of the Resorts you see in pictures in New York. Think “Dirty Dancing,” but with white cottages and buildings, their signature bright blue roofs and instead of mountains, ocean. It was charming. Not like the “resorts” of today, but one of the past.

We stayed in one of the main buildings nearest the ocean. Beautiful views, perfect weather, hours of Boggle and family, what a great combo. The grounds of the Miramar were spread out and were dotted with little cottages and green belts. From the outside, the Miramar was ideal. The reality was, the carpets were dirty, (you had to keep shoes or socks on) the bedding had seen better days, and the resort needed major work. We understood then why we were the last ones there.

Fast forward to today. I volunteer for a non-profit organization, Deconstruction & ReUse Network. Lorenz, the founder, asked me if I had heard of the Miramar Resort. I said yes, if it’s the Miramar with the bright blue roofs. Lorenz laughed and said, “yes, exactly”. Well, it turns out the Miramar Resort, still had not been torn down. Its been caught in the typical litigation that comes when a historical place is involved. Nothing new there. What was of interest was the thousands of the famous Miramar blue roofing tiles, still new and in their packaging, were sitting on the property. To make a long story short, Lorenz made contact with Caruso BSC Miramar, LLC, the developers who now own the Miramar and suggested they donate the roofing tiles to DRN and Habitat for Humanity of Southern Santa Barbara. They generously agreed to do so. Now, three organizations, DRN, Habitat for Humanity of Southern Santa Barbara and Corazon will benefit from their donation. The next time you’re in Tijuana or Tecate, keep an eye out for those bright blue roofing tiles. You’ll see Caruso’s donation at work.

If you had told me 11 years ago, I would be touched by those bright blue Miramar roofing tiles I would have told you your crazy. All I can say now, is never say never and thank you everyone at Caruso BSC Miramar, LLC, for your donation.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Stop by and See us at West Coast Green (Booth 313)

If you're walking the exhibit floor at West Coast Green 09, we invite you to stop by Booth #313 and discover how we're helping Californians "Think Outside the Roll-off."

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Truth About Some Green Myths

Just found this great blog post at that debunks some "Green" myths you may or may not know about.

Worth reading and sharing.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Let’s Celebrate the 1st Annual World Green Building Day

Posted By Lyndsy Czapla (DRN Intern)

September 23, 2009 will mark the first World Green Building Day presented by the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC). According to the WorldGBC, this annual event was established to unite the efforts of Green Building Councils from around the world as they strive for market transformation of the global property market and building industry. The day is marked with a summit and reception that will take place in Toronto, Canada where speakers such as Karan Grover (world-renowned architect) and Frank Biden (an advisor to President Obama) will advocate green building practices.

Along with the activities scheduled in Toronto, there will be events in several other countries including: the United States, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Germany, Taiwan, India, and Australia. As for the United States specifically, 75 advocates from across the country will attend the U.S. Green Building Council's "Congressional Advocacy Day" at the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, DC. The advocates will discuss everything from green building policy topics to creating ideas on how to incorporate green building practices into long-term climate change mitigation legislation.

To read more on this exciting day click here.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Are You Simply Mad to Recycle?

Are we all about to lose it trying to recycle everything?

I would like to suggest that sometimes the practice of recycling is just crazy and inefficient. Why spend extra money (and energy) to reconstitute a door into a pizza carton when someone can use it as a door again, as is?

The energy in your home's framing lumber has held the house up for 50 to 80 years or more (not to mention the several hundred years worth of energy it took to grow the tree) and you're going to pay extra to have those 2x4's and 2x8's turned into mulch because you can't wait 2 short weeks to salvage them? Consider letting someone use your 2x6's again.

Your home's materials carry tax deductible value and energy. ReUse them before you rush to recycle. The Deconstruction & ReUse Network and great home building organizations like Habitat for Humanity, and Corazon will help you achieve a smarter solution.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Deconstruction Creates Fabulous Furniture

Posted by Lyndsy Czapla (DRN Intern)

Turning House Furniture is bringing new life to old wood by way of deconstruction. The company launched its green furniture line earlier this year and has been creating beautiful pieces of furniture from reclaimed wood that would otherwise end up in landfills. Thus far, the furniture’s sister company, Turning House Millworks (who performs the deconstruction), has managed to recycle 98 percent of each building they have deconstructed. Many of the buildings they have deconstructed were built in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, during the Industrial Revolution. Structures built during those times were primarily made from wood rather than steel. According to the company’s website, these structures yield a large amount of old growth wood from beams, posts and flooring—beautiful hardwoods that are centuries old and virtually unavailable today outside of reclaimed sources.

Turning House’s latest project involves the deconstruction of an abandoned tobacco warehouse in Winston Salem, NC. This project will bring new life to more than 230,000 feet of vintage wood. The deconstruction of this warehouse alone will allow the company to create tens of thousands of new furniture pieces from reclaimed woods that cannot be found anywhere else. The woods being deconstructed include long leaf pine, oak, and sugar maple. What’s really neat about Turning House Furniture is the fact that their furniture is not only green and environmentally friendly, but their deconstruction practices allow them to preserve history.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Las Vegas Hits the Jackpot with CityCenter

Posted by Lyndsy Czapla (DRN Intern)

Sustainable building practices are making a huge impact in Las Vegas this year with the almost completed CityCenter. The CityCenter is a sprawling 67 acre mixed unit development that will comprise everything from hotels, casinos, retail stores, and several entertainment venues, to its very own fire station and on-site power plant. It is located right on the Vegas strip where the Boardwalk Hotel once stood. From the start, the goal of CityCenter developers has been aimed towards being one of the world’s largest green building projects. According to CityCenter’s website, We aspire to achieve LEED™ (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, taking an innovative approach to site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental air quality.

Thus far, the CityCenter’s green efforts have included: recycling 95 percent of all construction waste… keeping it out of the landfills; incorporating reuse of materials from the Boardwalk Hotel for construction of the development; using reclaimed water from the Monte Carlo Hotel and Casino for dust control in place of drinking water; installing an 8.5 megawatt natural gas co-generation plant that will provide efficient electricity on site (10 percent of overall CityCenter use), reduce emissions, and utilize the waste heat from the power generation to provide all the domestic hot water necessary at CityCenter, including within its numerous pools; as well as clean-burning natural gas stretch limos for guests, among several others.
If CityCenter developers stay true to their goals, this could be a turning point for other large-scale projects in the future and could help LEED the way to a better world.

Monday, August 31, 2009

A Museum with Imagination in the OC

Just saw this on GreersOC (one of my favorite blogs):

Orange County just incorporated a new city Sunday--a child's dream town. Children can unleash their imaginations at Pretend City in Irvine by building a fort at the Construction Site, painting a masterpiece in the Art Studio, cooking in the kitchen at the Pretend Café, or building sandcastles at the Beach.

Pretend City is an incredibly cool, interactive children's museum created to build better brains through whole body learning experiences, educational programs and creative exhibits. READ MORE>>

Friday, August 28, 2009

Attention Orange County - Amazing Home Items at your Local Habitat for Humanity Store!

Just delivered 2 sub-zeros, a US range, Dutch doors, doors, fireplace mantle and marble surround, double vanity w/ marble top, to the Habitat Home Stores in Garden Grove and Santa Ana. Hurry up and get there or they'll be gone!

Thanks OC homeowners for choosing deconstruction & reuse in the community.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Help Us Get A Grant By Voting

Instructions for How to Rate:


1) Click here.

2) Take 2 seconds to enter your email, name and create a password. 

3) Click 'Register Now'.


1) Click here.

2) Select the number of stars (5, of course!) and then click.

3) Your vote has now been recorded!

Lorenz Schilling

Lorenz assembled a team of building, recycling, sustainability, marketing, sales professionals & interns to help make deconstruction the 1st consideration in the building process, not the last. He founded Deconstruction & ReUse Network as an environmental & humanitarian nonprofit to promote sustainability through salvaging construction materials and growing a reuse network for quality building materials through partnerships with complementary organizations. He provides cost effective & environmentally friendly deconstructive solutions for homeowners, building pros & government to achieve maximum reuse & waste reduction. DRN completes the cycle of reuse by donating reusable building materials to non-profits who build affordable housing.

Why Lorenz Schilling

In order for the Lorenz to realize his vision, directing funds toward public awareness is critical. He is committed to educating property owners and building industry professionals to make deconstruction and building material reuse a priority over traditional demolition and landfill reliance. Key to realizing such a commitment from both parties is to establish Lorenz as an industry leader, DRN as a trusted source of information and a valuable resource in the green building process.

By combining homeowner education and property planning, DRN can divert as much as 85% of reusable and recyclable materials away from landfills and into the creation of sustainable homes for low-income families through complementary non-profits including Habitat for Humanity & Corazon. With the financial award granted through this opportunity, Lorenz plans to dedicate funds towards the establishment and maintenance of a multitude of informational sources, including his blog, DRN website, speaking engagements, community educational submissions & contributions to social media outlets. Through public education and creation of a network of reuse professionals, Lorenz seeks to realize his vision of the positive promotion of sustainable building while reducing the negative environmental impact of landfill waste and helping families in need.

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Collective | Stories About Movement |

I've been nominated to receive a grant from's first annual $10,000 Grant for Change highlighting projects and people from across the globe. Please support our hard work by rating us - and we could possibly receive some much needed funding. Thanks!

The Collective | Stories About Movement |

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Jude Ndambuki Dumpster Dives for Computers, Fixes Them, and Sends them to Kenya

Posted by Jacqueline Moy, DRN Intern:

Today I came across this really fantastic article about a teacher I had in high school. His work refurbishing computers and printers bound for landfills is truly inspiring.

The CNN article states, “In lieu of compensation for the considerable time, expertise and expenses he devotes to his Help Kenya Project, Ndambuki asks that recipients plant 100 trees for every computer they receive. By connecting computer recycling, educational development and environmental conservation, he hopes to encourage a greener, more prosperous future for his country.”

Mr. Ndambuki was inspired to start this project when he discovered a discarded computer on a walk home from his night class. He brought the computer home and found that it worked perfectly. From then on he saw the potential for good in what people just throw away. In eight years, the Help Kenya Project has sent 2,000 refurbished computers to schools and planted 150,000 trees. I am floored that he was able to accomplish all of this in his spare time. Check out the CNN article and video for more.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Something to Think about when you are Working on a New Project or Remodel

This was written by Anne Cole, Global Sourcing & Product Development Manager at Emser Tile

Low cost ways to being green friendly.

What most don't think about when building or remodeling green is their flooring. Carpet, for instance, typically is replaced every 8 to 10 years and hardwood flooring can be green depending on the type of wood chosen (slow growth wood such as rainforest woods, are not good). What is best is porcelain or ceramic tiles. The best tiles, manufactured in a green friendly way, are Italian. The Italian government mandates recycling of water, dust collection, natural gas kilns, etc. Now, they have developed a way to get LEED points by recycling 40% of dusts back into the clay. Ceramic and porcelain is considered more permanent than any other flooring. It does not need harsh chemicals to be maintained and typically is not replaced but every 20 years unlike other flooring.

The only disagreement I have with the USGBC is mandating how many miles from the factory that raw materials can be bought, etc. Think that containers coming over on a huge vessel use a lot less fuel than individual trucks.

The Italians (and most European countries) place the importance on the method of manufacturing which reduces pollutions on many different levels. They also are the best tile manufacturer's in the world.

It is a pity that China has taken a huge chunk of the European business. China, so far, does not manufacture green friendly at all and the pollutants are huge. For a little more expense, you can achieve LEED points, have quality tiles that have been manufactured green.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Green Is The New Black--Green Textile Recycling, That Is.

Last week, we attended the California Resource Recovery Association conference. We attended a seminar about ReUse and Repair with four very interesting, keynote speakers, each with something valuable to share. Today, I want to talk about what Christopher Mkpado is doing, as he puts his best fashion foot forward.

Did you know that thrift stores in America are closing down? In this economy, I expected them to be striving. Well, they’re not. As I learned from Christopher's presentation, thrift stores only sell 25% of the clothes receive. The rest of those perfectly good clothes end up in our landfills! It is extremely costly for thrift stores to dispose of those clothes, and money is just one factor. Sales are also down because consumers can now buy cheap, new clothes at Walmart and similar stores, leaving the thrift stores out of business.

Did you know… “textile waste makes up approximately 8% of the total waste in California? While the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that about 97% of post-consumer textile waste is recyclable, unlike paper, plastic, and aluminum waste recycling, most communities do not have systems in place to address the fabric component of the waste stream.” I had never given textiles much thought. Thank goodness Christopher did.

Christopher saw the need to reduce the needless waste, and thus, he spearheaded the company Textile Waste Solutions in 1995. He partnered with the City of Santa Maria to take the garments headed to the landfill and give them new life. Here’s how the magic happens. The usable garments clothe people in third world countries. Unusable garments become industrial rags and what’s left become fibers that can be used in upholstery or acoustical soundproofing. Christopher has recycled 1.2 million pounds of textiles per year in Santa Maria and hopes to increase that number to 2 million this year. He has also formed a partnership with Santa Barbara and hopes to recycle another 2 million pounds through that program. One man with a vision, employing many people, diverting waste, extending the life of landfills and making a big impact on his community.

I love what he is doing. Christopher ended his presentation with a simple sentence: “This can be done anywhere.” So, why isn’t it? Perhaps you want to do this in your community? Contact Christopher. He’s willing to teach you how. Here's hoping that this new recycling trend will take the worldwide fashion industries and communities by storm.

For more information about Textile Waste Solution, visit their website at

Friday, August 7, 2009

When Demo Goes Wrong (it's always wrong if you ask me)

Posted by Kandist Mallet (DRN Intern)

This video from the Huffington Post is a good reminder why deconstruction is not only better for our environment than demolition, it is safer.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Reincarnation by means of Deconstruction and Downsizing

We came across this article on Mother Nature Network, which describes the Reincarnated McMansion Project while drawing a parallel between this Australian undertaking and DRN’s own recent Beverly Hills deconstruction project. The McMansion Project is utilizing the process of deconstruction and is salvaging those reusable home materials; the goal: to dismantle a plus-size single home in order to create two new, energy efficient, green-dwellings boasting zero-emissions.

To read more, click here.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Wayne County, Michigan Opts for Deconstruction of Abandoned Homes

Posted by Lyndsy Czapla (DRN Intern)

Abandoned homes are often an eye sore in communities and many times end up on the path to demolition. It is apparent, however, that times are changing and better alternatives are being put to use. Wayne County, Michigan is setting a prime example of how opting for deconstruction instead of demolition of abandoned homes positively impacts the entire community.

Wayne County, along with Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit and the Architectural Salvage Warehouse, has started a pilot program where abandoned homes are being deconstructed, "starting with the roof and ending at the foundation." The program is geared towards creating a greener economy in the state of Michigan while realizing the revitalization of local neighborhoods. One of the abandoned homes that has been recently deconstructed employed 14 people from Goodwill's Flip the Script program; a program that helps minority men from the Detroit area obtain jobs and work towards bettering their lives. The deconstruction project not only helped the actual people who participated, but also benefited the local residents as well.

For the full article, click here.

Monday, July 27, 2009

California's Universities LEEDing the Way in Green Building: Event Hosted by UC Santa Barbara Marks 8th Annual UC/CSU/CCC Sustainability Conference

Posted by Shannon Avison (DRN Intern)

A little less than a month ago, from June 21st-24th, UC Santa Barbara hosted the 8th annual UC/CSU/CCC Sustainability Conference. This event served as a meeting ground for collaboration and discussion of trends, hurdles and cutting edge technologies promoting sustainability under the heading "Working our way to Zero: potable water for landscapes, volatile organic compounds, GHG emissions, virgin paper, waste. The event included tours, workshops, and keynote addresses as well as smaller presentations identified as "tracks" on energy, food systems, green building new construction, green building operations, maintenance, and renovations, health, sustainability and climate action planning, business, social equity, student affairs, waste reduction and recycling, and water.

This event demonstrates the continuing commitment of California universities towards sustainability and eco-minded applications. Highlights from the green building tracks included talks within Green Building New Construction where a UC Davis professor describes his experience with the Brewery, Winery, and Foot Pilot Building and how it relates to the role of an academic client. A Stanford presenter examines the new Yang and Yamazaki Environment + Energy Building (Y2E2), a lab, classroom, and office building through a cost-benefit analysis.

And lastly, project managers of the UC San Francisco Green Building Team discuss steps taken within Capital Programs striving for both LEED certification and LEED Silver status or higher on all projects thereby promoting a "business as usual" green building ethic. In another presentation, with the management of a $5.7 Billlion construction bond program, the San Diego Community College District promotes LEED districtwide with its Green Building Policy and Major Renovation Standards and likewise the California State University Program for Environmental Responsibility has developed an integrated building design approach to be implemented statewide.

Further presentations identifying sustainable practices in green building were present in the Green Building Operation, Maintenance, and Renovation Track. Talk highlights included discussions around sustainable operations for LEEDTM for Existing Buildings, Operations & Maintenance (LEED EBOM). Case studies were presented, exemplifying how UC Santa Barbara has approached the greening of its building portfolio, with both new, LEED Platinum rated Bren Hall, and existing buildings, LEED Certified Girvetz Hall. UC San Diego has also promoted sustainable practices through encouraging students to be activists through establishing their Green Campus Program where they provide opportunities for students on LEED project teams. The UC Policy on Sustainable Practices was also identified which mandates all UC renovation projects exceeding a $5 million budget to maintain at least the equivalent of a LEEDTM for Commercial Interiors Certified rating. Specific case studies of the green building progress made by UC Davis and UC San Francisco, using the LEEDTM CI system were identified as well. The last presentation identified The Building Sustainability @ Cal Program which works to reduce the environmental footprint of campus buildings through using students to raise awareness of building inhabitants and identifying structural and operational changes that can be implemented in buildings and campus-wide. At UC Santa Barbara, a program called PACES analyzes present office methods and makes recommendations to allow for evolution towards current achievable sustainable office standards from student groups.

This annual Sustainability Conference continues to perpetuate the green building movement within both California universities and the green building sector as a whole through education, research, and implementation of current LEED and green building practices. It is through this commitment to education and green building which not only promotes creative thinking about green building, but also allows a broader application of green building techniques throughout academic institutions and communities statewide.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Why Wouldn't You Choose Deconstruction?

Posted by Timna Zemel (DRN Intern)

Sometimes it can be challenging getting homeowners on board with deconstruction. I can’t understand why anybody would choose to demolish instead of deconstruct. Deconstruction can save homeowners money in the long run, with a tax write-off for donated reusable materials; deconstruction is safer than demolition; it’s good for the environment and the donated materials help other families live in decent, affordable homes.

Some possible explanations for a homeowner’s apprehension may be:

  • Inconvenience: A huge wrecking ball can get the job done much quicker. But this method of demolition is dangerous and wasteful. That huge pile of rubble that was formerly your home goes straight to your landfill.
  • Lack of Information: Do you realize that demolition increases the amount of construction and demolition materials in local landfills? Some are quick to assume you don’t care, but perhaps you just don’t know that 34 billion tons of construction wastes ends up in the landfill each year. Deconstructing a 2,500 sq ft home can divert 25 tons of building materials.
  • Education: Many homeowners probably do not realize that deconstruction is an option. Deconstruction is a fairly new trend that only started getting popular a few years ago. The deconstruction word needs to spread, but probably because of its infrequent use (most people do not renovate their house often), the word is taking a while to get around.
Many cities are adopting strict new green building guidelines so this is all worth learning about because you may not have a choice at all in the future, you may have to deconstruct & reuse if you remodel or build. But why wait until "everyone’s doing it" - choose to be a leader. Instead of being that neighbor with the awful roll-off out front, you can be the really generous family that's recycling their house to help others in the community.

Want to learn more, visit our website to learn about the facts and misconceptions about Deconstruction.

Monday, July 20, 2009

We Need Your Help Choosing a New Logo

Please let us know which logo you like best and vote (over there on the right side of the blog.)





Friday, July 17, 2009

Whole Foods Market Greens Distribution Center

Posted By Lyndsy Czapla (DRN Intern)

Whole Foods Market is getting a whole lot greener these days. The grocery company's recently built distribution center in Braselton, GA is setting a bar for greener practices in the business world. The 114,000 square foot building exemplifies the Whole Foods mission of embodying an environmentally friendly company. By first sight of the distribution center, it is obvious that it is not just another industrial building with its wooden facade and sprawling picture windows. Around the building and its parking lot, there are several lush fruit trees in the orchard and a garden that boasts several plants including; squash, potatoes, corn, herbs, and much more. Since most industrial buildings are pretty "blah", this Whole Foods distribution center really stands out. The 113 employees at the center have great pride in the exterior since they were the ones who planted all of it. All of the food grown at the center is either used for the employees or donated to a local food bank. As for any food that is not sold in the 18 stores that the center serves; it is sent back to the Braselton to get composted and turned into mulch for resell or other vendors. Beyond the exterior, the interior and the overall structure is very green. When the center was being built, materials such as steel, carpeting, and concrete were reused to construct it. All of the center's monumental lighting and its water heater are powered by solar energy. To read the full article, click here.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Two Homes Being Recycled in the Bay Area

A quick update on 2 projects currently underway in the Bay Area:

A 1,242 square-foot home in Palo Alto on Everett Ave is being deconstructed by V’s Demolition Inc. and it's got some very nice kitchen cabinets with granite counter tops; single panel doors; double hung windows; laminated wooden flooring; redwood siding and rough sawn lumber.

Another home project is in Pleasanton on Country Lane and this one is being deconstructed by R & J Construction Inc. The home has very nice wooden kitchen cabinets; double-pane windows and sliding patio doors; plantation shutters throughout; wooden panel walls and ceiling. This home is 2,544 square-feet and is expected to be completed by July 20. You can see photos of this one in our online gallery.

All of these items are being carefully removed, sorted and will be donated for reuse to local area Habitat for Humanity ReStores & Corazon. If you have questions about your city's green building guidelines and deconstruction in California, please contact us.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Living in the Trees

Posted by Emily Busch (DRN Intern)

Architect, Peter Bahouth , wanted to create a retreat. Instead of going out, he went up. He built himself an extravagant tree house made up of open air rooms connected by a series of bridges. The house is not only innovative in design but in materials use. The house was built out of predominately reused doors and windows. Check out this video.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Spreading the Word about ReUse in So Cal

Special thanks going out to Brad Pomerance for having me on his CNN Local Edition show - we truly appreciate the added exposure!

Tales of Creative Reuse

Calmax presents a collection of stories about people reusing things in remarkable ways. Mannequins, burlap sacks, and guardrails all make re-appearances in theses ecotales. Check them out here.

Friday, July 10, 2009

I Will Use Less...Chevron Oil

Posted by Timna Zemel (DRN Intern)

Despite Chevron's best efforts at convincing us it's an environmentally progressive company, I am convinced it's an ecological predator in green guise. “Yes, we produce, refine, manufacture, and sell oil, but we’re actually just tapping the power of human energy,” is Chevron’s slogan. I’m paraphrasing, of course, but billboards displaying sentences such as, “I will leave the car at home,” and “I will use less energy,” make a passerby wonder whether they just saw an advertisement for Chevron or the Sierra Club.

So I was pleased to read in Reuters this past week that while Chevron may have succeeded in fooling countless American consumers, they have not succeeded in hoodwinking a California state judge. On Thursday the judge “ordered Chevron Corp. to halt a $1 billion project aimed at expanding the types of crude oils its San Francisco Bay-area refinery in Richmond, California, can process.” As it turns out, Chevron’s plants do cause immensely significant environmental damage! Who would have thought, that the hydrogen plants that Chevron claims as an “alternative” energy source in its commercials actually do not abate pollution at all, but just allow the oil refineries to run cheaper, heavier grades of crude oil that “reduce costs and increase profits”?

I only hope that the actual news gets more publicity than Chevron’s advertising campaign, and that the average consumer takes the time to read an article instead of just another “I will …” sentence.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Reclaimed Mahogany Bench - Great Reuse!

This Flat Bench uses mahogany reclaimed from local manufacturers, eliminating waste and avoiding use of virgin cut lumber. Stainless steel base fits design themes that the concrete version may not, and it's a bit lighter too. The bench packs flat for reduced shipping cost and energy and is easy to assemble.

It's well suited for public spaces, lobbies, outdoor, gardens, entry ways, etc.

There are several other products on the site that are similarly targeted and worth checking out.

I'll be on Big Blend Radio this Saturday with HGTV's Jared Walker Dostie


Tune in: Big Blend Radio's "Garden Gossip" show
Saturday, July 11 at 10 am PDT

Join Jared Walker Dostie (HGTV's "Rate My Space") and me for a lively discussion about Recycling, Refurbishing & Rethinking with Nancy & Lisa on Big Blend Radio's home show, "Garden Gossip."

If you miss it, I'll post the archive here.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

US Government May Bulldoze 50 Cities; Create More Green Space

Posted by Blake Holt (DRN Intern)

Yeesh what a headline: "US Government May Bulldoze 50 Cities; Create More Green Space". If we are going through the trouble to downsize these cities and create more green spaces in them, why not deconstruct instead and reuse the materials?

Check out this article on

Monday, July 6, 2009

Recycling…as American as Apple Pie

Came across this great blog post over the holiday weekend...enjoy!

Recycling…as American as Apple Pie

What is patriotic? Fighting for one’s country is patriotic, flag-waving is patriotic, singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” is patriotic. Now, let’s think outside the bin (sorry, recycling humor) to something you do everyday. That’s right. Every time you reduce, reuse and recycle you’re celebrating your love for your country.


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Thirsty, Anyone? A guide to getting through the drought

Posted by Timna Zemel (DRN Intern)

California is in its third year of drought. The water shortage has become so dire, in fact, that on June 19th, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger requested that President Obama declare Fresno County a federal disaster area because of the drought’s strain on the area’s agricultural industry. In a letter that the governor sent to the president, Schwarzenegger explained that water managers have been working on developing various long-term strategies to address the problem. Indeed, many of the issues feeding into the water problem are out of our immediate control, such as climate change, environmental regulations to protect endangered freshwater fish, and population growth. However, I want to focus on one of the strategies Schwarzenegger mentioned that Californians—with a little bit of effort—can implement: “increase water conservation to meet [his] plan to reduce individual water use by 20 percent.”

Many Californians do not seem to realize that “California had only 53 percent of its normal rainfall in 2007, and 58 percent in 2008, and has had only 77 percent this year,” according to the New York Times. Some suggestions for the average citizen:
• Yes, it’s hot, but get out of your backyard swimming pool. According to USA Swimming and the National Swimming Pool Foundation, there are approximately 10 million swimming pools in the United States, and the average backyard pool is full at 25,000 gallons. Swimming is an excellent form of exercise and a fun way to cool down during the summer, but join your neighbors at the local public pool instead of adding to California’s recreational water usage with each private backyard pool.
• Who decided that sprawling green lawns were the standard of landscape beauty? A single square foot of grass can absorb about 46 gallons of irrigation water each year, and if you live in a single-family home, 50% or more of the water you use every day may be going to your lawn or landscaping. Some Californians are opting for artificial turf instead of water-guzzling lawns, but Californians should also plant plants that suit their surrounding environment. For instance, in the desert climate of Los Angeles, a cactus garden would be much more appropriate than an expansive lawn.
• Flush with caution. According to, your toilet is the largest water user inside your home. Traditional inefficient toilets (pre-1990s basic white models) use 3.5 to 5 or more gallons of water each time they are flushed, whereas “Ultra Low Flow Toilets” (ULFTs) use only 1.6 gallons per flush, and Newer “High-Efficiency Toilets” (HETs) use as little as 1.28 to .8 gallons per flush. I know the economy is tough right now, but many water agencies will provide rebates for HETs that could cover a big part of the cost to change out your toilets. If you are really strapped for cash and absolutely cannot afford a new toilet, then just remember that you don’t have to flush every time. It might sound a bit distasteful to those who aren’t used to extreme water conservation, but only a Number Two really requires a flush; Number Ones can wait.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Thinking Green in the Garden

Posted by Marie Jean (DRN Intern)

If you’re like so many trying to make your lifestyle a little more sustainable and eco-friendly, don’t just stop with your house, but green your garden too! Backyard vegetable gardens have become quite popular, either as a fun family project or even as a way to save a little on the grocery bill. And with “organic” being one of the most popular words in school, what better way to make sure your veggies are 100% organic than growing them yourself! Whether starting the plants from seeds or picking up some starter plants at your local nursery, not only will you have your own personal farmer’s market outside your window in a few months, but nursing the plants and watching them grow is extremely satisfying.

Some people have even found ways to bring the whole spirit of reuse and recycling into the garden, such as building their own raised garden beds out of reclaimed wood, putting their compost soil to good use as a terrific (and organic!) fertilizer, or just being creative in making fun garden ornaments and labels out of reused materials. Others have gone as far as to make entire greenhouses out of recycled materials. One artist, Fraser Koroluk, constructed a beautiful greenhouse out of salvaged windows, doors, and wood, while others have created smaller structures almost entirely out of used plastic bottles. So this summer, go outside, get creative and don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Greening San Francisco

Posted by Blake Holt (DRN Intern)

Greening San Francisco is a wiki project created by high school students at The Urban School of San Francisco. It tracks SF environmental progress in 6 major categories: environmental justice, waste reduction, climate change, reducing toxins, alternative fuels, and water use. Definitely more interesting (and useful!) than a book report.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Garage Store: Locals Resell, Reuse, and Recession-Proof Their Shopping

(San Francisco, CA.) - It's only been in business for a handful of months, but The Garage Store has already been growing in business and in local fame. Literally a store inside a garage, this local treasure should not be confused for a thrift store or a perpetual yard sale. It's a consignment shop for everyday goods. Here, people can bring in their items that are still in good condition, and once they're sold, they receive a 50% commission check in the mail. Customers can expect to find furniture, kitchenware, books, electronics, and other miscellaneous household items at dirt-cheap prices. Landfills can breathe a little easier knowing that perfectly reusable items are not going to clog them just yet.
Jacob is the store owner, usually in his truck to make pick-ups and deliveries. He started off selling his own things, but eventually the idea grew to the point of selling other peoples' things. His Australian friend, Clive, is the face of the store while Jacob is out and about. "Around the neighborhood, it's really well known," he says. "Everyone knows the store, everybody comes in 2 or 3 times a week." The inventory is in a constant state of flux; new items come in daily from bed frames and baby cribs to stereos and paintings.
Yes, there are some higher-end items on the menu, as well. How does that go over in a store that's run out of a garage? "We never really price things too highly," Clive explains. "There's nothing worse than having things stuck on the shelves." What that means is that customers get extremely good deals on items that would otherwise be too expensive to even consider.
And the customers, they love it. They only have a few reviews on Yelp, but each one is a rave. "Every time I stop by there's something for me to buy," one says. "This is definitively a place that you should stop by if you are in the neighborhood."

More information:

The Garage Store
1104 Sanchez St
(between 24th St & Jersey St)
San Francisco, CA 94114
(858) 997-5285
Reviews: The Garage Store on Yelp

Beverly Hills Deconstruction Featured on Mother Nature Network

Deconstruction & ReUse Network is featured on Mother Nature Network - special thanks to Matt Hickman for giving this national attention.

Read the article here and check out photos of what was savlaged below.

Be sure to follow @mattyhick & @homerecycler on Twitter.

Earth, Wind & POWER

Posted by Timna Zemel (DRN Intern)

A shift toward a greater use of renewable energy sources is commendable and, in terms of humankind’s long term sustainability, the shift is unavoidable. The continued burning of coal and fossil fuels has an expiration date because of these resources’ limited long-term supply, but it is also imprudent because of its contribution to global warming.

It’s frustrating when people oppose the development of alternative energy sources, or take the “not in my backyard” attitude. The current opposition to the wind-farm project set for Campo reservation east of San Diego is a perfect example of this. The amount of power that the 160-megawatt wind farm would generate for San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) would be “enough for 104,000 homes at peak production,” and yet, various locals are quick to complain. The concerns that they have voiced regarding the wind turbines include their ugliness, noisiness, injuries to wildlife, and damage to property values.

To rebut, firstly, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But let’s just give the opposition ugliness, since it is subjective. Secondly, according to the American Wind Energy Association web site, only earlier wind turbine designs were noisy, and the noise “has been largely eliminated as a problem through improved engineering.” Thirdly, the injuries that wind turbines inflict on wildlife are principally to birds and bats, but “no matter how extensively wind is developed in the future, bird deaths from wind energy are unlikely to ever reach as high as 1% of those from other human-related sources such as hunters, house cats, buildings, and autos,” and “human disturbance of hibernating bats in caves is a far greater threat to species of concern.” Sure, the Renewable Energy Policy Project’s analytical report “The Effect of Wind Development on Local Property Values” showed that wind turbines do not diminish property values, but rather enhance them. Those findings, however, seem pretty unlikely. My common sense tells me that the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ report that “wind farms decrease the value of residential properties where the development is within view” is much more probable. Though I predict that as various renewable energy sources become much more common, the average housing market shopper will be much less affected by solar panels, greywater recycling systems, wind turbines, and the like.

Despite whatever hesitations San Diego residents may have, I urge them to put aside their reservations in the name of sustainability. If nobody is every willing to make even the smallest sacrifice—if one must view the installation of wind turbines as a sacrifice—then we all stand to lose in our society’s future development.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Cal Poly students create "recycled" solar energy system

This month, a group of Cal Poly Pomona graduate students completed work on a rooftop photovoltaic (solar cell) system for the school's prototype "Habitat 21" house.

What makes the project unique is the students' concerted effort at material reuse. The panels themselves were salvaged from a defunct "solar park", while previously-used charge controllers, batteries, breaker boxes, and other miscellaneous parts were donated by a local company. For the interior of the dwelling, LED-powered light fixtures are fashioned out of dried gourds (that's right, gourds), radiator fans provide ventilation, and a car stereo (wired to indoor and outdoor speakers) gives life to the party.

This project, along with other examples of sustainable practices can be seen in person at the John T. Lyle Center for Regenerative Studies at Cal Poly Pomona.
Deconstruction And Buildingmaterials Reuse Network Inc