Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Scrap House

It's everyone's dream, well maybe mine and a select other few's dream... A house built not just of recycled materials, but strictly of salvaged, repurposed, recycled materials!!

Featured on National Geographic a few nights ago, there it was: The Scrap House

Mission: In San Fransisco, the goal was to create an up to code, safe and stylish house out of nothing but trash in just 4 weeks in time for UN World environment Day; on San Fransisco's Civic Center Plaza.

Players: the architect, the salvager, the structural engineer, the building inspector.

Thesis: We live in an age of construction and demo 24 million new homes are built each year in the US; tear 200,000 to the ground creating an endless cycle of 100billion lbs of trash including building materials and appliance. Is it possible to make a new house out of this trash??

Rules: NO new materials except for screws and nails.

Here is just a few of the materials they recycled into this house: scrap metal, old street signs, traffic lights, sheet metal scraps, old shower doors, some computer keyboards, scrap metal studs, old fire hoses

1st problem: No full length 2x4 at dump
Solution: Find of left of metal studs from an industrial construction job.
TIP: Small pieces of scrap metal stud can be jointed together safely unlike wood studs!!

2nd problem: No plywood!!
Solution: 40 year old Masonite found!
Made from wood fibers, but weaker, not ideal wall material but stronger enough to keep walls from twisting

3rd problem: weather proofing material for exterior
Solution: Shingling with small piece of durable materials: smaller than a door, larger than a license plate. Using: shower doors; old street signs; sheet metal scraps
TIP: Overlap of at least 6in protects against leakage
TIP: Galvanized steel can last 50-70 years without rusting=VERY DURABLE

4th problem: Framing
Solution: 10,000lbs of structural steel from a warehouse demolition
TIP: Withstands up to 7 on Richter Scale; Recycled steel doesn't result in a lower quality material, unlike paper or glass (High demand) TIP: In US, 75% discarded steel is recycled; Cars recycled at a rate of 25 cars/minute TIP: Each year steel recycling safe enough energy to power 1/5 of all homes in America

5th problem: Need glass for giant floor to ceiling window walls (~150 pieces of various size glass)
Solution: double pain scrap glass find at dump = savings of nearly $100,000
TIP: When building sky scrapers architects usually buy 5% extra glass in case of breakage. (31 story building = up to 200 extra windows)

6th problem: Interior design
Solution: Use everyday items in a new, random orientation!
Patches of scrap leather to make patterned floor. Hang keyboards on walls as tiles; turn doors into a wall. Wall insulation out of phone books (blown paper is better than fiberglass)
TIP: An R rating measures how well an insulation works Formula: (Temp. difference X Area X Time)/heat loss [R rating of fiberglass=3.14 per inch; r rating of blown paper=3.7 per inch]

7th problem: Stairs
Solution: Built offsite from a salvaged cut tree. Handrail from scraps of leftover steel

8th problem: wall coverings
Solution: Old fire houses, conveyors belts, miss matched wood trim

9th problem: Light fixtures
Solution: traffic light glass chandelier; Lamp collage

Other trash to treasures: wooden bed headboard, dishes, bathtub, sink, cabinets, counters

How amazing 100% junk, 100% brand new house! Can you imagine if everyone used at least 1 recycled item from the dump, keeping all that potentially useful, reusable material out of our landfills!!

I'm willing to do this, are you??

You can watch the full episode here on Hulu:

No comments:

Post a Comment