Habitat for Humanity recycling entire house

I like the idea of reusing building materials. I hope this becomes a habit for Habitat for Humanity and others.

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By Rusty Marks Staff writer Chris DorstMicalyn Kuhl, a volunteer with the Underwood Institute, removes drywall from the interior of a house on 19th Street in Dunbar. Habitat for Humanity volunteers are salvaging as much material as possible from the house to recycle or resell.

DUNBAR, W.Va. — Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.

Officials for Habitat for Humanity hope to promote all three concepts with a house they’re taking apart in Dunbar, piece by piece.

“Velvet crowbar; that’s our motto,” said Shawn Means, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Kanawha and Putnam counties.

More than 140 volunteers are taking turns deconstructing the house on Dunbar’s 19th Street. When they’re finished, everything that can be salvaged from the house will be taken to Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore, a facility at 301 Piedmont Road that resells used building materials and fixtures.

Habitat for Humanity volunteers routinely save doors and other easily removed parts of houses they plan to tear down, but Means said this is the first time they’re taking a house apart with the intention of recycling as much of the structure as possible from roof to foundation.

The process, called deconstruction, involves disassembling the house instead of just knocking it down. “It’s very labor-intensive, but most of this house is reusable,” Means said.

ReStore director Amy McLaughlin said about 80 percent of the house should be salvagable. Means said doors, windows, cabinets, bathroom fixtures, solid oak flooring, planking that makes up the subfloors and exterior walls and even studs can be carefully removed and reused.

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2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    tj mecham said,

    There is a whole new family of hand tools that were just invented to easily remove nails. The Nail Jack and the Nail Hunter will make this much smoother and simpler, and thus make it more likely to happen. Tell me what you think, we’ve been sending them to Habitat for a few months now.

  2. 2

    The hand tools can be manually used employing force, or electrically powered, using electrical current.”.`

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