Bellaire, Texas is looking into policies on Building Deconstruction.
But the latest discussion on the sustainability front in Bellaire is whole house recycling.
As of late 2008, nearly half of Bellaire’s single-family detached homes had been rebuilt.
The Building and Standards Commission has spent nearly a year researching the topic and last month proposed a set of amendments to city ordinances that would allow it, said its chairman, Kristin Schuster. The commission and Bellaire City Council are expected to hold a joint workshop in the near future to explore the idea further.
In its current form, the proposal would give contractors extra time — 28 days, or more with approved extensions — for structural demolition in order to salvage building materials for reuse. Fencing and proper drainage would be required as well as signage identifying the site as a recycling project. Contractors would not have to provide a performance bond and could work on Saturdays and Sundays.
At their Recycles Day booth, commission members shared the case study of a Houston home in Southampton that was deconstructed under the direction of architect Karen Lantz. Antique bricks were salvaged, wood flooring, windows and doors. Reusable materials were donated to Habitat for Humanity, the Habitat Restore and the city of Houston’s ReUse Program. The fair market value of the donations exceeded $60,000, providing a tax write-off of nearly $20,000 for a taxpayer in the 33 percent federal income tax bracket.
On her website, lantzfullcircle.com, Lantz writes: “99% of our 1800 square foot house was reused or recycled. The last step was delivering six truck loads of concrete foundation equaling 128 tons to Southern Crushed Concrete, a green initiative company, where it will become TxDOT standard road base.”
Schuster, also an architect, has seen a cost benefit for her firm’s clients who practice whole house recycling.
“It can really work to a homeowner’s advantage,” she said.