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‘This old house’ is now part of new housing

By Charles Sercombe

Usually when it comes to tearing down a house there’s nothing really to it.

First you disconnect the electric and gas and then bring in a bulldozer. When it’s all knocked down, you scoop up the debris, haul it off to a dump and dispose of it.

That could become a thing of the past, if the folks at Henry Ford Community College and Zachary & Associates have their way. It’s all part of the ongoing greening of America and finding ways to reduce the amount of waste this country produces.

Their plan is simple: Instead of throwing away perfectly good pieces of wood, plumbing, flooring, windows and even shingles, the material is repurposed for other construction projects.

Some of these houses have old wood that command high prices. Still, compared to the cost of new lumber, the salvaged wood is a bargain and often looks better once it’s planed down.

You can see this experiment in action at a house on Carpenter near Fleming. There, a crew is carefully dismantling the house, board by board. It’s called, “deconstructing” a house.

“It allows us to reuse a house instead of throwing it away,” said Jason Friedmann, Hamtramck’s Director of Economic & Community Development.

Besides being green, this method of taking down a house provides jobs. But there is one problem to this approach: Money.

Normally, an average house costs about $6,000 to tear down. A deconstruction project costs over double that amount, about $15,000.

The house on Carpenter is not costing the city anything. It’s being taken down as part of an experiment to find a way to bring the cost down.

Once that hurdle is cleared, Henry Ford expects this to be a dynamic new field and will offer classes to train people.

Who knew, there’s some “green” in going green.

One Response to ‘This old house’ is now part of new housing

  1. Roger Lamm for Council

    June 16, 2011 at 10:37 am

    Does this mean if i buy a house that needs to be demolished i can pay these guys instead or call them to tear it down for me while helping their cause? that would be very cool indeed!

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