Home Builder Turns Trash into $10,000 Green Homes
|12:24:44 AM, Saturday, April 30, 2011|
"Dan Phillips is one of the most unconventional home builders you'll ever find. In fact, he's more an ecological social messiah than a home builder (see video below). For $10,000, he builds affordable homes for low-income people that are attractive, energy-efficient and save landfills. Most builders purchase building materials -- piles of wood, sheet rock, nails, bricks, and tiles -- that are used in construction and then, when the house is finished, the waste is discarded to the dump. Phillips, 66, salvages those materials, hauling them from the trash or even picking them up on the road, to build or remodel homes for low-income buyers.
He says he's just doing what people have been doing for years -- using whatever they can scrounge up to to build shelter.
"And if you ponder what could be used," says the Huntsville, Tex., resident, "then building materials are everywhere."
Phillips himself has been "everywhere": He worked as an intelligence officer in the Army, then as a dance instructor, an antiques dealer and a puzzle maker. Fourteen years ago he started a new career: Creating affordable homes for low-income families out of trash. He is a self-taught carpenter, electrician and plumber. His motivation came from the disparity he saw between landfills overflowing with discarded building materials and a lack of affordable housing. He started Phoenix Commotion, a for-profit company that hopes to solve the world's social problems associated with housing.
Phillips builds homes for as little as $10,000, making them energy-efficient with tight insulation, solar hot water and even a rainwater catchment system. He hires unskilled workers, teaches them marketable construction skills and then helps them find jobs when the project is complete. He keeps the landfills shallow by using truckfuls of leftover building materials such as lumber, tile and granite. Locals even hand off their old fixtures and doors to Phillips when they remodel, which he keeps in a warehouse and distributes free to low-income and needy people and organizations..."
-- Sounds like something I would do! Good man.