Home inspection findings by Frank Schulte-Ladbeck, Professional Real Estate Inspector TREC# 9073

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Green Home Conversion: Reusing What We Have

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The seller had put in new carpets the previous year. The buyer decided that they wanted wood floors. A perfectly good carpet was going to be set out for heavy trash. Knowing a home which was in need of new carpet because of storm damage, I asked the buyer (a friend of my wife) if I could take the carpet. I would prepare the floor, so they could have no issues installing a new floor. They agreed. Driving through the neighborhood, I saw many homes which were being remodeled, and I wondered how many items could be saved for other homes.

Before considering tearing out your cabinets and floor coverings, consider that it is not very green to throw out items for the dump. For me, going green does not mean replacing items which are perfectly good with a products which is considered more ecological sound, just to fill the dump with older stuff. The first step in converting your home is thinking about what will happen to those items removed from the house. Salvage yards or Habitat for Humanity may need the item, or it could be someone you know.

The next step is to consider what do you need to remove. A neighbor of mine created a wonderful looking new kitchen, but much of it was not new. The appliances were working fine, and the cabinets were in good shape. She fixed the broken knobs, and she refinished the cabinets, but the kitchen really looked new because of a new countertop and new sink. By careful planning, you can have a new kitchen at a lower cost than a totally new kitchen. Many parts for standard equipment can be found at home improvement centers.

Could it be that a “new” used item be right for your home? Like the carpet above, remodelling projects may offer you an item that you need at a lower cost. However, you may find what you need at a salvage center. With a little sweat equity, doors or cabinets from a yard can be beautiful additions to your home. When wanting a new green product, research its claims to being green. So many firms are making claims that their products are better for the environment, but in reality, many claims have not been verified. Take a cautious eye when buying a green product.

Evaluate your project, and make decisions about what you can reuse, or how (or if) what is being removed could be reused.

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2 Responses to “Green Home Conversion: Reusing What We Have”

  1. Robert Says:

    I agree with this whole heartedly. I did some renovation recently and tried to reuse as much as I could. I have a garage full of old two by fours and wood panels.

    In addition, people renovating can also send gently used materials to their local Habitat for Humanity. This includes cabinets, doors and frames.

    Whatever it takes to reduce those landfills.



  2. Robert your blog really handles this material quite well. I started to look at this topic after too many books on green construction did not touch on the idea of reuse. I shall be back to your site to read more soon.

© Frank Schulte-Ladbeck Professional Home Inspector Houston, Texas
Frank Theodor Schulte-Ladbeck
home inspector, TREC# 9073
Houston , Texas , 77063 United States

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