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Hermosa Homeowner Recycles 1930s Home for a Cause

Instead of demolishing her home, Bonnie MacLeod deconstructed it and recycled its materials to help build affordable housing.

Hermosa Beach homeowner Bonnie MacLeod helped bring a whole new meaning to recycling last month when she decided to deconstruct and recycle her Hermosa Beach home rather than demolish it.

With the help of the the nonprofit Deconstruction and Reuse Network (DRN), MacLeod began dismantling her 1930's era home in December and has since donated the salvaged materials to help Habitat for Humanity's ReStore in Gardena.

According to DRN, the deconstruction of MacLeods 1,200 square foot one-story home yielded more than 6.5 tons of reusable lumber, 4,500 bricks, 1,000 square feet of hardwood flooring and multiple widows, doors and lighting fixtures that would have otherwise ended up in landfills.

MacLeod, a general contractor herself, said that she was impressed with the amount of reusable material that came from the deconstruction and plans to use the deconstruction process on future projects.

"I was fascinated by the whole process of deconstruction and impressed by the quality of of the materials salvaged from my home," MacLeod said. "We need to educate homebuilders with the benefits of recycling materials and decrease the demand for new building products that may otherwise be easily substituted."

According DRN president Lorenz Schilling, the deconstruction process has both environmental and social benefits along with additional tax benefits for the homeowner. 

"A typical home can yield as much as 85 percent diversion through reuse and recycling," Schilling said in a release. "With traditional home demolition, materials that can and should be repurposed are sent to the local landfill... Deconstruction is a responsible and effective solution for the environment and benefits the community."

The whole process of deconstruction takes three weeks or less, according to DRN.

Before work begins, a DRN reprsentative inspects a home prior to the deconstruction and inventories all donation worthy items within the home. Following the inspection, contractors carefully dismantle the home, organize all reusable materials and then donate the items to organizations such as Habitat for Humanity and other organizations dedicated to building affordable housing.

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