How To Save Tons Of Money Creating Houses From Reclaimed Stuff

How To Save Tons Of Money Creating Houses From Reclaimed Stuff
How To Save Tons Of Money Creating Houses From Reclaimed Stuff. Photo – Wikipedia lic. under CC2.0

Check out this tremendously inspiring TED Talk from Texas builder Dan Philips. All the houses featured in the video are made from between 70% to 80% recycled materials! He’s also hilarious, deep and highly creative.

Some of the materials he uses are truly amazing. For example the “architectural buttons” on the exterior features are made from chicken eggs filled with bondo and painted… you would never know…

Two real “takeaways” emerged from this video for me: 1) the stuff you can find that other people have discarded is truly amazing – and if you have the time and patience to look, you can save an absolute fortune in materials. 2) In order to make use of the reclaimed materials, you really need either to be an artisan or have one on hand. In order to fit all these unusual materials and features into a construction takes skill, knowledge of materials and of course time.

However the up-side, in addition to cutting a huge amount in costs, is that you end up with something truly original.

Dan Philips has a quirky, irreverent approach to construction that seems to follow the maxim of deliberately not doing what you are supposed to do, but making it work.

But there’s seriousness behind it. After initial jocularity, things get serious. He broaches the topic of waste in the building industry and theorizes that much of it happens because people do “what you are supposed to do” in order to follow the pattern of expectation. “Imperfection” is largely a matter of perception and the use of standardized materials. As he says. “Trees don’t grow 2 x 4 inches, 8, 10 and 12 feet tall. We create mountains of waste.”

So it turns out that his rebellious inventiveness stands on some deep philosophy and an ecological sense. This is a fantastic TED talk and well worth your time.

Ok, here’s the video:

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How To Save Tons Of Money Creating Houses From Reclaimed Stuff
How To Save Tons Of Money Creating Houses From Reclaimed Stuff. Photo – Wikipedia lic. under CC2.0

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