By Bill Reid, Owner Remodel West   Much discussion goes on about green building but how does one go about applying the principles? Green Building is not just about solar panels and trendy materials but about applying logical responsible building practices that help our health and environment. Remodeling a home provides a multitude of opportunities and it starts with the removal of old materials known as deconstruction.  Here is a real life example of how a homeowner and contractor can put their green building philosophy to work.


This property is located at our home in Lake Almanor California. We will call is out Osprey Project named after a native bird in the area (see our mascot picture that I took on the property).  The property consists of two structures and the one we are working on is the guest house.  In reality it is the original home that was built in the 1940’s. This a 900 square foot two story home that was one of the first built in the area.  The construction was sub-par to say the least and the original intention was to remove the interior and exterior material and leave the shell.  As we dug into it I quickly discovered that I had a larger project than I had planned.  I decided to move ahead and ultimately tore the structure down to the foundation.  As we progressed I decided to use this project as a test to apply the green building principles that I recently learned at my Certified Green Building Professional training. 

Construction waste is a large contributor to landfills.  Diverting and/or re-purposing this material can make a huge difference and this is exactly what I planned to do.  I set out to find a location to take our wood waste debris which equated to several large trailers.  It didn’t take long.  I found a company about ten minutes away in Westwood CA.  Mt. Lassen Power is a power plant that uses wood waste and debris from primarily forest management companies and converts it to power.  This area around Mt. Lassen is largely owned by Collins Lumber who is a renowned for sustainably managing their forests.  Large trucks arrive consistently every day and unload their wood chips from out in the forests.  I stopped in talked with someone and asked if I could dump our wood debris at their facility.  Sure enough they were happy to take it.  I proceeded to become a regular customer and took all our wood debris to them.  This material consisted of wood siding, framing lumber and plywood.  Here is the best part.  The cost was $2.00 per load!

Driving away after our last load left a different feeling.  Knowing that the impact of our project to the environment is far less than what has been traditionally done left an un-expected feeling of contribution rather than a sense of guilt.  This experience has transformed my approach to building and triggered a landslide of other practices I put to work on this project.  Look for future postings as time permits for me to show you how I implemented a multitude of green building principles.

NEXT:  What to do with the foundation?  


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