Meanwhile in Ranch Estates, architect Karen Lantz is deconstructing this 1950 Rancher, piece by piece. Her goal: building a new home on the site — but only after finding new homes for most of the materials that are already there.
This type of disassembly is almost unheard of in Houston, where relatively low local landfill tipping fees make crushing and dumping a much cheaper alternative. After 5 local demo companies turned down the work, Lantz decided to contract it all herself. She says she expects to be able to recover and donate 90 percent of the materials in the Banks St. home. Working with an appraiser, she’s been sending materials to the city’s new Reuse Warehouse, Habitat for Humanity of Northwest Harris County, the Houston Habitat Restore, Century Asphalt Materials, and Lone Star Disposal.
“The house going up will absolutely be going for LEED, hopefully the highest rating,” Lantz tells Swamplot. It’s intended for her and her husband. Lantz, the founding president of Houston Mod, says it’s been difficult to convince clients to commit time, energy, or funds toward this sort of attention to materials. Since she’s now preaching the benefits of building deconstruction, she sees this project as an opportunity to practice it.
How much will it cost to strip the place this way?
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I am working on a cost spreadsheet of deconstruction versus the actual benefit, but I will not have the final totals until I finish. My best guess is that a traditional demolition would cost +/- $6,000 and this method will be +/- $10,000. The charitable donation tax deduction savings benefit will outweigh the total cost. The estimated charitable donation amount from the appraiser is $65,000. The brick is antique and thick solid wood floors are valuable, but we also get value for recycling the wood wall and roof framing, which Habitat for Humanity will use to build new homes. The brick has already been sent to a school that needed it. If the material can be reused, it has a value.
Of the 90% of building material that can be diverted from the landfill, no materials from the house will be sold; they will be donated to non-profit organizations or sent for specialized recycling (see “deconstruction plan”).
Since I did not find any demolition company to tackle deconstruction of houses in Houston, the costs I will have are not “retail” pricing for consumers. I am not profiting from these efforts.
- Up Next: Deconstructing Banks [Lantz Full Circle]
Photos: Karen Lantz