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"The Sign of Renovation in Your Neighborhood

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Posted: 10/28/20110 Entries
Many parts of old homes can be reused
By Doug DeLoach

The familiar adage “waste not, want not,” lies at the heart of a homebuilding industry trend, which places an emphasis on reclaiming material, fixtures and other components utilized in residential construction, and applying those materials when renovating or remodeling a house or reconstructing on the same lot.

According to an article on ArchitectureWeek.com, nearly half of the energy consumed in the U.S. is attributable in some way to the construction, use, maintenance and disposal of houses. In 1996, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimated that 250,000 houses a year are torn down across the country, representing more than 1 billion board-feet of lumber or about 3 percent of America’s annual softwood timber harvest.

Estimates vary, depending on the builder or developer doing the estimating, but somewhere around 60 percent to 80 percent of the materials in a house — from bricks, siding and electrical fixtures to concrete, roofing and window frames — can either be recycled, reclaimed or repurposed...

Recycling houses is one aspect of a general movement within the industry, which is approaching the point where green building techniques and incorporating environmentally friendlier materials are considered standard operating procedure. The extent to which a house can be “recycled” depends on what a builder-developer is trying to achieve based on the homeowner’s desired outcome.

“As far as adaptive reuse of the house, when we have a client who says they want to tear down a house and build a new one, the first thing we do is look at what’s there and determine whether we can use the footprint,” said Matt Hoots, CEO of SawHorse Inc.

“We ask questions, such as, ‘Can we use the landscaping? How is the foundation dug into the hill? Is there part of the foundation that we can add to?’ ” Hoots said.

From an energy usage perspective, renovating is much greener than tearing a house down, reusing as many parts as possible, and building a new green house on top of it.

“We have the resources and the technology these days to take an existing house and bring it up to current energy code and also make it more energy efficient,” Hoots said.

In renovating a house in Lake Clare, an intown neighborhood between Atlanta and Decatur, the SawHorse crew was able to utilize almost 75 percent of the existing siding by pulling off the original siding, insulating the house, and reinstalling the salvaged material.

“We preserved the look of the house while giving it a freshly renovated look and a new paint job,” said Hoots.

For his son’s school, Hoots constructed a playhouse out of decking material obtained from a client whose deck had collapsed. The playhouse was donated to a charity, which auctioned off the building for a tidy sum.

“Recycling can mean a lot of different things,” Hoots said.
Posted: 10/5/2011
Before, During, After: Remodelers Are on a Video Roll
By Matt Hoots

30 minutes here, 30 minutes there, and before he knew it, Matt Hoots had created nearly 80 videos for SawHorse Design Build and Remodeling, the Atlanta company where he is CEO.

"We like to use video because because it's an easy way to communicate with images and audio," Matt told me yesterday. "Any time we find ourselves repeating the same message over and aover again, we create a video and then refer people to it. A lot of times we've even converted prospects to sales this way."

It's official, remodelers: Video marketing has found its way well into the remodeling and small-business mainstream. You don't need a marketing agency, a high-end editing suite, or even a tech-savvy freelancer or teenage nephew to master it.

Take the video below. Like most of the videos on SawHorse's website and YouTube channel, Matt created it himself in 30 minutes or so using inexpensive video cameras (and still images, in some cases) and Windows Live Movie Maker software. Only a few include kids -- but the cute factor never hurts.

SawHorse videos cover a broad range of topics -- about the company, client testimonials, how solar hot water heaters work, for starters -- and appear in multiple places for maximum viewing, including appropriate spots on the company's website and as pop-ups in company e-letters.

"We just signed a contract today," Matt said yesterday. A big part of the new client's education and buy-in came from video links that he had sent her in response to some of her questions.

He even credits video with helping to keep the company afloat in the past few years. "Honestly, without green work and video and other social media, I don't know if we would have survived."


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