Friday, December 17, 2010

Last Minute Green Gift Guide

Posted by Lyndsy Czapla

Usually every year I am way ahead of schedule with my Holiday gifts.  This year, however, I have been pretty far behind and still have to head out this weekend into the trenches a.k.a the stores to get some more shopping done!  One thing that I look for every year is gifts that are eco-conscious and are friendlier to our planet.  Below is a list of some last minute green gifts that I think are pretty neat and are still available to get before Dec. 25th!  All are under $20!

Vapur Anti-Bottle (Reusable Water Bottle) …. Sold at Macy’s, Target, and Online Retailers
Nahui Ollin Candy Wrapper Itsy Bitsy Pouch (Made from Candy Wrappers!) …. Sold at and Online Retailers
Any Reusable Bag!  What I like to do is put gifts into reusable shopping bags rather than paper gift bags!  It is so easy and most reusable bags cost the same as paper gift bags!  Plus, you can find reusable bags just about anywhere!
Luigi Bormioli Recycled Green Glass 3-Section Serving Tray… Sold at
Recycled lp coasters…Sold at
Tree-Free Jewelry Box with Piping…Sold at Cost Plus World Market in-store and online

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Yes, Orlando, There is a Santa Claus and his Elves just Built you a Home in 1 Day

Last Thursday, Lorenz and I decided to join Corazon for their final volunteer build event of the year. While DRN supports Corazon with our lumber donations, we hadn’t joined them for a build in quite a while. I’m so glad we did. 

We set our alarms for 4:00 am to allow us plenty of time to get dressed, have some much-needed coffee, and feed our bleary-eyed dogs. You see, the group needs to meet in Chula Vista at 6:00, which is an hour and a half drive for us. Once there, we go over the plan for the day, attach ribbons on our antennas so we know who is part of the group, get our radios and head for the border. The group will caravan into Mexico together, only stopping for those who get flagged into Mexico’s secondary. This happens quite a bit and is not a big deal when you know what to expect. 

We arrive in Chula Vista a little after 6:00 am, after picking up Carl Hanson, the gentleman who helps us transport our lumber to Corazon, who will be joining us today. Today is Carl’s first build and he’s one of the sponsors, supplying some the lumber for today. Our group is a small one, only 14 people, but of the 14, 10 of them have hundreds of builds under their belts and would prove to be an amazing team.

We’re building in Pedro Gal and arrive by 7:00 am. We’re met by half a dozen of the locals, who are earning their hours toward their homes. Nothing is given away for free at Corazon. People must put in the time and effort to earn a home. These ladies and gentleman would make up my painting team. The other teams would build the walls and roof rafters. With so many experienced team members, there wasn’t a lot of chit-chat. Heads were down and butts were up in the air as everyone got busy building. By 9:30 am, the walls were up and we were getting ready to put the roof on the house. We were making amazing time. To put things into prospective, the roof normally doesn’t go on until 12:00 pm when we break for lunch. At this rate, we would be one of the “those” builds, the ones we’ve heard about, the ones that are done by 2:00 pm, but we thought those were urban legends because we had never been on one of “those” builds. 

When we broke for lunch, the tar paper was complete and almost all of the roofing tiles installed. I’ve never seen a house go up so fast. Wahoo! We would be done by 2:00 pm, two hours ahead of schedule. The last hour and a half was a blur. By 2:00 pm, we were dedicating the house with a blessing and the homeowner, Orlando, was getting his keys to his new home. 

I should pause here to tell you a little bit about Orlando. Orlando is a lovely man. He has been working with Corazon for a year and a half earning his hours toward his new home. The committee, a group of local residents, decides who gets the next home based on need. While he was next on the list, no one thought we would be able to provide him a home this year, but miracles can happen. The sponsors magically appeared with supplies for his home and the build was given the green light. You see, Orlando has owned the property for quite some time, but he’s been living in a rental. He recently lost his job and had no idea where he was going to live now that he couldn’t afford his rent. Enter a Christmas miracle. At 2:00 pm on Saturday, December 11, 2010, Orlando, with dimples the size of the Grand Canyon, was thanking us for his new home and the new life that was about to start for him. He said now that he had a home, he could marry his girlfriend and start the family he always wanted. What an amazing day. We were blessed with beautiful weather, skilled volunteers, generous sponsors and in 7 hours, we took a cement slab and built a house. Thank you Corazon for allowing me to be part of this amazing day. It was a wonderful way to start my holiday season.

If you’re not familiar with Corazon, the organization has been building homes and sustainable communities in Mexico for 20 years. They are known for their Build a House in a Day program. I encourage you to visit their website and learn more.

Check out photos from our build here & visit our Photo Galleries to see some Corazon builds 

Related blog posts:

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

If Huge Tax Breaks for your Home's Salvaged Materials Sounds Too Good to be True - That's Because it is!

Now that California State Assemblyman Ira Ruskin has given Paul Gardner and Whole House Building Supplies the Small Business of the Year Award for State Assembly District 21, I suppose more and more environmentally-minded (or tax deduction-minded) folks will want to bring down their house through Mr. Gardner’s operation, right? Not so fast! Mr. Gardner should have gotten the tax-break racket of the year award, instead. Apparently no one else put their glasses on and took a close look at the texture of Mr. Gardner’s too-good-to-be-true operation.

In the fall of 2006 the IRS instituted their 3 year recapture program which was designed to address the donations of non-cash goods to recipient charitable organizations where deductions taken by tax payers and the net benefit to charities didn’t remotely match. Mr. Gardner’s little operation gives us an excellent example of the big-dollar issue the IRS is hoping to solve with its 2006 invention, IRS Form 8282.

These discrepancies occur when a person or entity assumes the role of third party fundraiser, like Whole House Building Materials does when it solicits deconstruction business in conjunction with a tax donation. The fundraiser directly receives and sells the non-cash donation and subsequently gives the charity some part of the sales proceeds.

If the fundraiser actually gives the real charity anything, the charity receives what it receives without ever touching the material donation. In most of these cases, a significant portion of the material sales revenues stay with the fundraiser to pay for its costs of doing business, like rent, and salaries, and all the other things a for-profit company pays for. Mr. Gardner claims he gives 100% of the material sales proceeds to something called the EPACT Educational Fund. But upon closer examination, things just don’t add up.

But this is how the deal goes down. Let’s say, instead of traditional demolition, you’re considering doing “deconstruction” with Whole House Building Supplies. You call up Mr. Gardner and he tells you that by doing deconstruction with him, you can take a tax deduction for your donation – just as he told a friend of mine who called him with a possible project. Mr. Gardner said she should expect a $50.00 per square foot tax deduction (even though he’d never seen the house or its condition, and not to mention Mr. Gardner isn’t an appraiser, and never mind his conflict of interest in so far has he also stands to win the deconstruction project dollars, if not all the materials in the house too!) and that the deconstruction would run about $10.00 per square foot. What this adds up to is that homeowners get their demo for free and put a healthy chunk of money in the bank after that, because for every fifty dollars that a typical home builder deducts, they pay twenty dollars less in taxes. So in effect, you pay $10.00 to get $20.00 in return, but you also don’t have to pay the $5.00 to $10.00 per square foot that traditional demolition would have cost you, so your savings is even greater.

If this was all on the up and up, every traditional demo contractor in the state would be out of business, because every homeowner in the state would have a Paul Gardner deconstructing their home to near windfall savings. But Mr. Gardner and his donors have simply been lucky to fly under the radar of the IRS. His days of doing business like he presently is, are numbered (Just ask the hundreds of folks whose tax deductions were disallowed in the Watts 13 donations scam, that spread across Los Angeles and Orange Counties in the 1990’s.). In all likelihood, the reason he’s able to give deconstruction prices at little more than machine wrecking prices (despite the labor intensive nature of taking a house apart piece by piece, with many people, over several weeks, instead of smashing it in several hours with one guy and a machine) is that he really never plans to make any money on the deconstruction itself; rather, Mr. Gardner makes all his money on the sales of the materials, instead.

Oh yes, but Mr. Gardner claims he gives 100% of the material sales proceeds to this EPACT Educational Fund run by some guy by the name of William Byron Webster in condominium # 307 at 480 East O’Keefe, in East Palo Alto – EPACT Fund headquarters. Let’s suppose for a moment that what Mr. Gardner says is true about 100% of the proceeds going to EPACT; if this really happens, Mr. Educational Fund is supposed to sign every donor’s IRS Form 8283 as having received their donation, which according to Mr. Gardner an appraiser will assign a $100,000 value to, if all you have is a dinky little 2,000 square foot house! Doing the math, obviously there ain’t no way in high heaven, Mr. Gardner is either going to sell the materials for, or right a check to, Mr. EPACT for $100,000 dollars for the material sales out of that little 2000 sq. ft. house!

In an extremely optimistic scenario, Mr. Gardner might sell those materials from the donated home for $10,000. Then let’s say he really does give 100% percent to EPACT; EPACT only gets a net benefit of 10K from the donation, which is 90K less that Mr. 2000-sqft-homeowner-donor deducted.

Now the new deal from the smart people at the IRS is that Mr. EPACT (William Byron Webster) must fill out IRS Form 8282 as soon as the non-cash donation is disseminated for cash (which in EPACT’s case should be immediately, because EPACT never actually receives any of the donated materials) and stating the net dollar amount EPACT received from the donation, which in this scenario is 10K. What happens next is that the really smart people at the IRS then reconcile the difference between the 8283 they got from Mr. 2000sf-100K-deduction-homeowner-donor-guy, and the 8282 they get from Mr. EPACT. Then the IRS sends Mr. 2000sf-100K-deduction-homeowner-donor guy a letter saying he owes taxes on the 90K of income which he didn’t pay taxes on.

Oops! I hope Mr. 2000sf-100K-deduction-homeowner-donor guy has a savings account, because that’s the optimistic scenario. But let me digress for one paragraph in order to clarify a small point.

When donors of non-cash goods donate directly to a bona-fide non-profit, the rules are the same, unless the non-profit uses the donated material in the course of its mission. The IRS gives us an example of a company donating donating medical supplies to a releif organization: The relief organization doesn’t need to fill out the 8282 if it uses the medical supplies in the field, in support of its mission. As long as this is the case, the donor need not worry about the IRS taking issue with its 8283 deduction, as long as the donation’s fair market value can be substantiated. Another example would be, if you donated twenty thousand sheets of drywall to Habitat for Humanity and deducted their fair market value; you’re golden as long as Habitat builds houses with that drywall (that Habitat's mission). If, on the other hand, they broker off the drywall or sell it all in their stores for fifty cents on the dollar, that’s another matter. In the second scenario they’ve used the material in a fundraising capacity and must submit the 8282, stating the net cash benefit they received.

But getting back to the folks who donate through the Whole House plan, it may get much worse, because according to Mr. Gardner he only charges a measly $10 a square foot for labor–intensive deconstruction. But he also states he doesn’t make any money selling the materials! I’m betting he can’t match his material sales receipts with the checks he writes to EPACT (if there really are any checks) and that if anyone really took a close look they’d find Mr. Gardner uses a significant portion of the material sales to pay his rent, and salaries, and utilities, and all the other costs retail sales usually go to pay for. What’s more, according to the website “The Charities Guide” EPACT has no assets and receives no income and hasn’t filed a return since 2003. They have a highly suspicious website  running off the Stanford server, which doesn’t talk specifically about a single project they’ve been involved with since the year 2000. Check it out for yourself.

(from: The Charities Guide)
PO BOX 50142 
PALO ALTO, CA, 94303-0142
Employee Identification Number: 770249384 
Ruling Date: April 1992 
Deductions: Contributions are deductible 
Foundation Type: Organization that normally receives no more than one-third of its support from gross investment income and unrelated business income and at the same time more than one-third of its support from contributions, fees, and gross receipts related to exempt purposes. 
Activity: Described in section 509(a)(2) of the Code 
Activity: Other instruction and training 
Organization Type: Corporation 
Latest Return Filed: December 2003 
Filing Requirement: 990 - Not required to file Form 990 (income less than $25,000). No 990PF return. 
Asset Amount: $0 
Income Amount: $0 
Form 990 Revenue Amount: $0 
Organization Type: Education N.E.C. 
Number: C1655424 Date Filed: 12/29/1989 Status: active 
Jurisdiction: California
Agent for Service of Process
480 EAST O'KEEFE ST #307 

So, attempting to wrap this up, if Mr. Gardner deconstructs dozens of homes every year, and using the numbers he gave my friend (remember the $50.00 per square foot) that means donors are literally taking millions of dollars in tax deductions through Whole House and Mr. Webster; yet this EPACT Fund has nothing to show for it! Even if Mr. Gardner sold the materials for 10% of what donors are writing off, and then gave 100% of those revenues to EPACT, EPACT should show revenue and checks from Mr. Gardner for several hundred thousand dollars a year.

Now after giving Whole House Building Supplies the Small Business of the Year Award, maybe Assemblyman Ruskin gets some things I don’t get. But it sure seems to me, somebody is giving somebody the business!

Assemblyman Ruskin may want to put a large disclaimer on his endorsement of Mr. Gardner who will otherwise soon be riding even higher on the tax deductions of homeowners who were led their by Mr. Ruskin himself. One day the IRS is going to catch up with Mr. Gardner and Mr. Webster and all the donors who bought their bill of goods, and Mr. Ruskin might have a little egg on his face.

Of course, contributions to this topic by Mr. Paul Gardner and Mr. William Byron Webster are more than welcome.

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Interview on KVYN Radio, Napa Valley

If you missed my interview with KVYN radio in Napa Valley last week, you can listen now - parts I and II are below.

Part I:

Part II:

Check out more posts on Deconstruction Network and Charitable ReUse:

Charitable ReUse in Action Down in Baja

Meet the Planet Radio Show

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Let's Talk about Deconstruction and Charitable ReUse tomorrow Live on KVYN Radio

Join me tomorrow on KVYN in Napa to discuss the benefits of deconstruction and charitable reuse when you remodel or rebuild.  You can stream it live on the KVYN website and if you miss it, we'll post it to our website within a few days.

Thanks for Thinking Outside the Roll-Off!

Listen to the KVYN radio piece here:
Interview on KVYN, Napa Valley

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Charitable ReUse in Action Down in Baja

Jorge and Taurino, and the Corazon staff in Tijuana, have begun sending us lots of great photos of their build projects, where they’ve been able to incorporate significant amounts of salvaged lumber.

Here are a few photos of your charitable reuse in action, we'll be adding more to our galleries soon.

Read more about materials being put to good ReUse:

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

What Is Roll-Off?

One of the first things visitors to our website see is our slogan, "Think Outside The Roll-Off!" Sometimes those in construction, deconstruction and equipment rental businesses are guilty of assuming that everyone knows what a roll-off is - us included. But, if has come to our attention that this is simply not the case. Many do not know what a roll-off is or simply call it by another name - like debris box. So, we hope to explain what a roll-off is because with knowledge comes the power to avoid it!

A roll-off is basically a dumpster with wheels. When something is being newly constructed, renovated, or demolished, a roll-off truck will deliver a roll-off to the jobsite making it easy to dispose of construction debris. Once the roll-off is full, the truck will return to take the material away to be recycled, or more often than not, to be disposed of at a local landfill.

While a roll-off is a relatively easy thing to understand, the consequences of not reducing construction waste are rather complex. An average 2,500 sq. foot home can result in over 127 tons of debris and 34 billion tons of construction waste ends up in landfills every year.

Thinking outside the roll-off requires a little planning, but it also means that reusable items like rough lumber, roof tiles, lighting and carpet, do not end up in the landfill. And, in the case of Deconstruction and ReUse Network, it also means that those items are donated to benefit deserving people in your community! And for property owners, the tax benefits for donating the materials for reuse may significantly off set construction costs in the long run.

Think Outside The Roll-Off!

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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Before You Recycle Anything Consider if it Can be ReUsed FIRST

Just when you’ve finally learned that you can recycle plastic bags, but not pizza boxes, we’re going to come along and tell you that before you recycle anything you should stop and consider if the item can, or cannot be reused FIRST. You might be confused at this point and ask, “Isn’t recycling and reuse the same thing?” The answer is no! In fact, one is actually way more beneficial to not only the environment, but also the economy and the community.

To help differentiate between the two, there is no better place to start than with some definitions. Recycling is the reprocessing of an item into a raw material that is then turned into a new item, whereas reuse lengthens the life cycle of an item. Simply put, an item is used again, in its original form, by someone else.

Since recycling involves manufacturing a new item, the process also involves more energy. Energy is needed to transport and process recyclables, as well as to create new items from salvaged materials. In addition, many recyclables ultimately end up in landfills as alternative daily cover (ADC). Landfills are required to cover their waste everyday in order to prevent odors and health risks. Traditionally soil is used, but more recently “green waste” and plastic tarps have been introduced as alternatives. Plus, many argue that recycling perpetuates our society’s “throwaway” attitude. For example, instead of buying a thermos we still buy bottled waters and think we are being green by recycling the bottles.

Now this is no reason to go calling up your city and requesting that they take back your recycling bins. That is not the point of this post. Recycling is still good and necessary in certain situations. The point of this post is simply to get you to think reuse before you think recycle. Reuse keeps materials out of our landfills, preserves energy, conserves resources and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. It also generates more employment opportunities than disposal, or recycling. When you think about managing 10,000 tons of materials, incinerating creates 1 job; landfilling creates 6 jobs; recycling creates 36 jobs; and reuse has the potential to create 28-296 jobs (source: US EPA, Institute for local Self Reliance). A big plus in a state, like California, with one of the highest unemployment rates in the country.

A few examples of reuse-based, green collar jobs include the management and non-management positions at businesses and non-profits such as Deconstruction & Reuse Network, Habitat for Humanity ReStores and IRN. Also positions at remanufacturing companies, building materials reuse centers, consignment stores, computer refurbishers, creative reuse centers, deconstruction firms, food rescue agencies, furniture reupholsters, industrial materials exchanges, online resellers, reclaimed-material artists, thrift shops, and toner-cartridge remanufacturing.

Not only is reuse a friend to the environment and the economy, it is also great for the community. It creates an affordable supply of goods and brings needed materials to groups and individuals that would otherwise not be able to afford them. That’s what happens at Deconstruction & Reuse Network when we dismantle a home and donate finished materials and appliances to Habitat for Humanity ReStores, or lumber to Corazon in Baja. The Institutional Recycling Network (IRN), offers an outlet for corporate, healthcare, restaurant, and educational surplus, which they send for reuse by charities in disaster relief and economic development. When you consider how many California businesses are downsizing and shutting down, that’s a lot of office furniture that could end up in landfills.

So, if you are thinking about remodeling your home, or office, make reuse your first option. It may reward you with cost savings or tax benefits plus the peace of mind in knowing that your actions support environmental and social sustainability.

Read more post on ReUse:
Recycling Homes Should be a Matter of Conscience, Not Stimulus Money

Ross Homeowners Choose Deconstruction & Turn Home Remodel into Valuable Benefit for Community

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Manhattan Beach 6,000 Sq Ft Remodel Means Gorgeous Materials will be Reused in Community

My blog and video debut. Hope it helps demonstrate how amazing this deconstruction is and how fantastic the homeowners have been.

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Great Examples of Home Recycling

Two Homes Being Recycled in the Bay Area

Monday, June 28, 2010

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

USA Today recently reported that recycling homes is becoming a booming enterprise, citing a trend toward deconstruction rather than demolition. One of our competitors and my former colleague, Ted Reiff, goes on to mention that the heightened interest may be due to stimulus funding. 

Though at its core, Reiff’s perspective may seem highly cynical; I’m hoping he didn’t intend it as such. Taken without the benefit of the doubt, Reiff seems to suggest that interest in deconstruction has not increased because people and local governments think it’s simply better to reuse and recycle, and that communities are sincerely interested in better methods and building practices, rather, the suggestion is that he (and everyone else) is really just following and spending the public’s money, and that interest in deconstruction will wane after the money is spent.

Hopefully the real reason behind the heightened interest in deconstruction (and the subsequent Federal Stimulus monies being spent on Mr. Bennick’s and Mr. Reiff’s training programs) comes from the more honest desire of peoples and communities around the country to find out ways in which to waste less.

I’ll give Reiff and his motives for offering training the benefit of the doubt, but I’d also be curious what his and other training programs really entail, and who is defining “deconstruction?”

To Deconstruction & ReUse Network and TRP (Reiff’s org), deconstruction is removing all of the usable building materials, when possible, down to and including the rough lumber. To others, it’s removing some building materials for reuse. To us, the latter is called “selective salvage,” something that has been going on in the construction and demolition industry for decades and decades. Selective salvage will always have its appropriate place, but only real deconstruction takes time and investment and should be more strictly defined as a comprehensive dismantling endeavor.

Dave Bennick and Ted Reiff both train people to facilitate some form of deconstruction through local government programs and elsewhere, but it’s safe to say, they’re not necessarily teaching the same strategies and methodologies. The time has come for those involved with the various forms of deconstruction to begin to establish a consensus  - a “best standards and practices” benchmark.

Like this post? Check out more like it below:

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

Before You Recycle Anything Consider if it Can be ReUsed First

Monday, June 21, 2010

Deconstruction & ReUse Network In Remodeling Magazine

Thank you to Leah Thayer from Remodeling magazine for thinking of us in her article "Thinking Outside the Dumpster". It is full of helpful deconstruction information like what materials are in high demand, who can do it, where materials end up and when you should start planning. Click here to read the full article and here for more information on deconstruction.

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

Santa Monica Homeowners Deconstruct & Get Noticed

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Sustainability Standards intended for Mainstream and Small Businesses

Builders have LEED certification to identify and categorize their efforts in Sustainability, but what about businesses outside of our industry?  Joel Makower covers a new type of third party sustainability standard that may be the future for mainstream businesses, in his blog at UL environment.

Monday, June 7, 2010

One Giant Step for California's Environment!

California may soon be the first state to entirely ban single-use plastic groceries.  The bill was passed by the California State Assembly 41 to 27 to ban the bags.  The bill would require shoppers to bring reusable bags to the store, or pay around 5 cents for recycled paper bags at the checkout.

The LA Times this past weekend took a look at this very hot debate, and why it is so important to our environment to ban them.  Read the rest of the article on their website!

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California Leads Nation in Recycling at 58% Waste Diversion

Friday, June 4, 2010

Are you Eligible for a Tax Rebate for going Green at Home?

Here is some great information on the possibility of being eligible for a Federal Tax Credit for going green at your home!  Once again, thank you to the Good Human for sharing great information!

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Home Improvement. Life Improvement.

Yes, Orlando, There is a Santa Claus and his Elves just Built you a Home in 1 Day

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Knowing how to identify Green-Washing

We appreciate the efforts made by so many people and companies to better their practices and ways of life.  At the same time, it's worrying many of us who have worked hard to implement legitimate efforts to be environmentally sound, that large companies are using "green" terms without valid third party certifications in an effort to boost sales.  Check out this great blog, The Seven Sins of Green-Washing to understand more about how to identify legitimate claims and efforts by companies to go green!

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Audit Your Home's Energy Use!

I Will Use Less... Chevron Oil

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Audit Your Home's Energy Use!

We love to share information we find from other sources about recycling materials and saving energy!  We found a great how to on assessing how much energy your household is actually using.  It's the first Important step towards making changes in your house to be more green, as well as save money!

DIY Energy Audit

Interested in learning more? Check out the post below:

Check out to View all Green Videos & Make a Difference

Composting 101

Monday, May 24, 2010

Simple Ways to Save Money on Electricity from The Good Human

We are big fans of following others who promote earth-friendly living.  While not everybody is looking to deconstruct their home, people are looking for ideas on how to "green" their home.  Here is a great story about how one persons simple ideas helped several others save money as well as reduce the amount of their electricity usage from The Good Human....

A few weeks ago I saved a new friend of mine at least $600 a year. (And no, not from telling her to switch to that annoying insurance company!) I was talking to the people who work here in the leasing office of where I live, and we somehow got on the discussion of monthly utility bills. When it came time for me to tell them how much my electric bill was each month, I almost didn’t want to do it because it was a fraction of what theirs was. For the last few months, my average electric bill has been only about $25, which came as a shock them. The woman in the office has a monthly bill of between $120-$150! Then, of course, they were all interested in how I kept my bills so low each month, which is when I let loose with my “$600 in annual savings” sentence:
Everything that is powered by electricity in my house & uses vampire standby power is on power strips, and they all get turned off when not in use.

electricmeter How One Sentence Can Save Someone $600 In Utility Bills.Well, not everything – the DVR is left plugged in and juiced so it can record TV shows. But other than that, my TV, DVD player, computer, computer monitor, microwave, and coffee maker are all either switched off via a power strip or unplugged entirely when they aren’t being used. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that all my light bulbs are CFL’s, or that I don’t use any electricity-powered clocks, but you get the general idea – and so did she. Amazed at how low my bill is, she said she was going to try an experiment for a few weeks and report back. I stopped in the other day to say hi and heard the results.
She had saved about $50 on her bill over the past 25 days or so compared to all previous months.
She was ecstatic! That’s $600 a year in savings for doing something so easy and uncomplicated that everyone should be doing it, and she didn’t even change every single thing in her house yet. She is going to report back to me once she does and finishes her next complete month with the changes in place.
See, little things do make a difference… and in this case it was only a single sentence.

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Friday, May 7, 2010

Ever wondered how you can recycle random things around your home?

While the main goal of DRN is to encourage people to think outside of the roll-off and deconstruct/recycle when starting a home renovation project , there are still so many daily efforts that can be made to incorporate daily recycling into your home.  We recently stumbled upon the website "How Can I Recycle This?" that gives ideas on recycling or reusing virtually everything found in your home (greenhouse glass to eyeglasses)!  Check it out, we thought the idea for reusing old ladders as bookshelves or taking it apart for garden fencing was clever, as well as the topic of using old drain pipes to make rows in a garden for seedlings!

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Greening Your Blues

Solutions & Sustainability- Great Video

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Ross Homeowners Choose Deconstruction & Turn Home Remodel Into Valuable Benefit For Community

We recently completed the deconstruction of a single-family home in the City of Ross (Marin County, CA) and all salvaged materials have been donated for reuse. The 3,000 square foot home in the City of Ross, which is going to be completely remodeled, has been carefully deconstructed to salvage as much of the existing interior as possible for reuse with us rather than being demolished down to the studs. Most of the home’s beautiful interior, which includes French doors, brand named fixtures and dual pane windows have been donated for resale at the Habitat for Humanity of Sonoma ReStore in Santa Rosa.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Welcome New Partners - Habitat for Humanity of Sonoma County

We are pleased to announce, today on Earth Day, our new partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Sonoma County!  As we work with area residents and property owners to deconstruct their homes, salvaged items, such as doors, windows, hardware, and more will be donated to HFH SC to be resold in their ReStore.

Habitat for Humanity is an ideal partner for us as they understand the value of reusing items in their current state and they support the community by providing affordable alternatives to big home store chains, while diverting perfectly good items from local landfills.

Read the Press Release>>

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Monday, April 19, 2010

Jobs Created by Recycling

Here is a great blog that analyzes the growth of green jobs in California, and why it's happening!

The State Economic Development Department recently completed a study on clean tech jobs in California, and the preliminary results show that shows AB 32 and recycling are driving green jobs growth. Currently, there are 500,000 jobs in the green jobs sector, which 3.8% of California's total employment. A quarter of these green jobs (approximately 125,000) can be attributed to recycling (including employees at recycling centers and manufacturers who produce products from secondary materials).

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Palm Springs, CA – April 15, 2010:  Deconstruction and ReUse Network (DRN), has announced two new representatives to advocate and assist in advancement of deconstruction and reuse of building materials.  Jorge Michios and Meaghan Hundley will work to expand services for the organization in the Palm Springs and San Diego regions respectively.  DRN is an environmental and humanitarian non-profit dedicated to educating and empowering Californians about the benefits of reusing building materials.

Jorge Michios will be serving the Palm Springs region for Deconstruction & ReUse Network, more specifically he will be advocating in the cities of Palm Springs, Palm Desert, Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, La Quinta, Banning and Beaumont. Michios joins DRN after working on several design projects that have focused on Sustainable design.  He has been acknowledged for his design know-how by Plinth and Chintz in 2007, and his passion for design and architecture will be instrumental in the success of DRN’s mission in Palm Springs.  Jorge can be contacted at or 888-545-8333 ext. 106

Meaghan Hundley will be implementing her experience with sustainable business practices as well as her marketing and business development savvy in the San Diego region.  Her well-rounded education from Syracuse University, as well as her strong commitment to sharing her knowledge of living and adopting a green lifestyle have made her successful while working on several green projects since moving to San Diego.  Meaghan can be contacted at or 888-545-8333 ext. 614.

"We are thrilled to have Jorge and Meghean join our team," says Lorenz Schilling, President/Founder of DRN. "They each have great passion and experience which will be a huge asset to our mission and for the people we serve in the San Diego and Palm Springs areas."

Deconstruction and ReUse network anticipates great success as these two broaden the outreach efforts as well as support the deconstruction involvement and consultant support in their regions.

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.
# # #
Lorenz Schilling, DRN, 888-545-8333 ext 103,
Angela Moore, Starfish P.R., 310-429-8868,

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Join us at Portola Valley's 2nd Annual Earth Day Fair

Join our own Leslie Roth on Saturday, April 17th from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. for Portola Valley’s second annual Earth Day Fair

Stop by or email Leslie to find out more about DRN's services in the Bay Area.

Read Related Posts:
Two Homes being Recycled in the Bay Area

Bay Area Prefab Saves Water & Energy 

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Please Support the Full Life-Cycle of Materials

This is a great opportunity for your voice to make a difference and get the climate impacts of products and packaging added to the U.S. Greenhouse Gas Inventory.

It's important to get the full life-cycle of materials (from research & extraction through retail) included here so that we have strong data to support our claim that reuse is a higher and better use than recycling and raw goods.

Please visit the EPA site and leave a comment in support of DECONSTRUCTION & REUSE!

Check out these related posts:

Treasures from Several Eras Will Get New Life from 1930s Beverly Hills Home Deconstruction

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

Finding Cleaner Energy via Trash

The New York Times had an article yesterday about the commitment other nations are making to utilizing their trash to fulfill energy needs. European nations are using incinerators to burn household trash into usable electricity and heat. New technology has made filters able to catch many of the harmful pollutants that would otherwise create toxins in the air surrounding plants. To read the article in its entirety visit the New York Times website.

Here are some other similar posts:
Maybe if it Comes from Robert Redford People will Listen

Earth, Wind & POWER

Friday, March 26, 2010

2010 Alt Build Expo is Coming

The Seventh Annual City of Santa Monica AltBuild Expo is the largest green building
expo in Southern California. It is a two-day event featuring alternative building materials
and design, returning to the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, Friday and Saturday, May 7-
8, 2010 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. each day. The Expo is free and open to the public and will
include over 150 carefully selected exhibitors, all chosen for their work, representing the
best in Green Building & Design Materials; Energy – Efficiencies and Alternatives; Best
Green Practices in Water Conversation; Environmental Plumbing; Sustainable
Landscaping and more.

Read Related Post:

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

Visit their website for more.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Event: 2/21 Sustainable Sundays at LA Nat. History Museum "Waste Not, Want Not"

Sustainable Sundays return to the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum for a second season to help Southern Californians learn about the latest conservation research and explore specific, scientifically-sound ways they can become better stewards of the planet. This week's topic is particularly near and dear to us. Here are the details:

Sunday, February 21, 2010; 9:30 am - 3:30 pm
Today’s themes are reducing, reusing, and recycling. Meet the organizations that are making Los Angeles a cleaner, greener city and find out how you can get involved and make a difference. Events at the Museum include hands-on activities with Breathe LA that teach how the air we consume is linked to the trash we throw out. But that’s not all: Sustainable Sunday guests can also take in a composting demonstration, make art out of recycled materials with artist Bette Simons, and watch an innovative performance with HumAnimals.

Click here for more info

Read more posts below:
A Museum with Imagination in the OC

City Museum Re-Did it Right!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Preserving Cleveland’s History through Deconstruction

Posted by Lyndsy Czapla

Deconstruction is the name of the game for us here at DRN. One thing that is really neat about the deconstruction process is seeing what may result from deconstruction efforts. I came across this really cool company, APOC, in Cleveland, OH that uses deconstructed materials and turns them into furniture.

APOC (A Piece of Cleveland) is not only trying to create a better environment, they are also looking to preserve history while telling a story. The company creates everything from tables and chairs to picture frames and candlesticks out of reclaimed materials from the Cleveland area. Each product they create is accompanied by a “Re-Birth Certificate” that describes the piece and credits its creators while relating the history of the materials that went into the piece. What’s really cool is the fact that not only is APOC making an impact on our landfills, they are also making reuse a top priority and showing that reclaimed materials have the possibility to be turned into something wonderful! For more info on APOC, click here.

Check out some more posts below:
Reclaimed Mahogany Bench- Great ReUse!

Manhattan Beach Home 80% Recycled

Please Support the Full Life-Cycle of Materials

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Deconstruction on Extreme Home Makeover!

Deconstruction has gone mainstream! Extreme Home Makeover's Episode on the Powell Family in Buffalo, NY incorporated deconstruction in their inspirational project. Congratulations Buffalo Reuse for a job well done! Check out the episode at:

Plus, check out some other related posts:
Why Wouldn't You Choose Deconstruction?

Finding Cleaner Energy via Trash

New Ballot Initiative Threatens California’s Pioneering Environmental Policy

A proposed 2010 ballot measure, the “California Jobs Initiative” would dismantle the environmental progress California has made over the last decade in one fell swoop.

The initiative proposes to suspend the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32) until the state’s unemployment level falls below 5.5%. Since the unemployment rate for the entire nation now surpasses 9% and California’s remains above 12%, this provision would effectively kill AB 32. Assemblyman Dan Logue, the author of the initiative, claims that AB 32 is stymieing employment in California, and that its removal would reinstate jobs. The logic behind this assumption is deeply flawed, as none of the factors that lead to the national recession were caused by environmental policies.

Logue and his supporters, namely the California Business Properties Association and a small Libertarian-leaning organization called the People’s Advocate, introduced an identical bill to the State Assembly, AB 118, which was rejected by the Assembly’s Natural Resources Committee on January 11th.

The suspension of AB 32 would amount to a great loss for California and the nation, since the bill is one of the first state-level policies aimed at curbing climate change, and provides the basis and rationale for many pioneering local government policies. AB 32 has been laying the groundwork for many programs and innovations in energy efficiency, renewable energy and clean tech in California: industries that not only create more jobs but help reduce harmful greenhouse gasses, recently recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency as a threat to public health.

In fact, climate change-fighting industries have been applauded at the national level as a solution to economic downturn. President Obama recently identified “Jobs Through Energy Efficiency and Clean Energy Investments”as a key strategy to accelerate job growth and jumpstart the economy. Sonoma County recently tested this theory with their new Energy Independence Program, a finance program that allows business owners to pay for energy efficiency and renewable energy programs through property taxes. As the construction industry continues to struggle nationwide, Sonoma County saw an 8.4% increase in construction-related jobs, with a booming $14 million in new contracts as a result of the finance district. In short, investing in energy conservation creates jobs.

We urge you to follow the lead of the State’s environmental experts by opposing the 2010 “California Jobs Initiative” and giving your support to policies that will truly spur job growth while protecting public health and the environment. Logue plans to release the California Jobs Initiative signature campaign on January 26th; please help get the word out about the damaging potential of this measure and prevent its appearance on the November 2010 ballot.

Some Related Posts:

Jobs Created by Recycling


One Giant Step for California's Environment!


Thirsty, Anyone? A guide to getting through the drought

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Garbage City

This is an amazing story about a civilization that has been conducting their own reuse for years and years, yet as their city begins to move toward modernization, many peoples' livelihoods will be threatened.

Read some related posts:
Please Support the Full Life-Cycle of Materials

California Leads Nation in Recycling at 58% Waste Diversion

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Great Examples of Home Recycling

I just added more photos on our website from 2 home deconstruction projects here in the Los Angeles area. So much to be proud of from our amazing deconstruction contractors and the generous homeowners to our partners at Habitat for Humanity and Corazon for putting all these materials to great use in the community. And, as usual, Buji the Decon Dog was there to supervise for quality assurance.



Read more posts on homes that went the way of deconstruction:
Recycled Rolling Hills Home will Help Nearly Six Affordable Homes

Two Homes Being Recycled in the Bay Area
Deconstruction And Buildingmaterials Reuse Network Inc