I wrote a treatise: Salvage Building in 2012: Now Truer than when I first shared… “Downsizing is a Real Gamechanger in America”.
When it comes to the idea of targeting minimal energy consumption from beginning to end, it is critical that the resources used to build the houses be of foremost importance. With that in mind, I contend that Salvage Mining and Salvage Building are the best paths to take toward the future of an energy-conscious evolution for housing in America in particular.
First there is the simple consideration of transforming the way we live in this country to bring us back in line with the rest of the world when it comes to the amount of space we use for housing. The most sobering of facts is that 76,000,000 people are reaching retirement age and 50,000,000 are finding it to be a rude awakening. The economic reality facing them is bleak as they realize that they will no longer be able to afford, nor desire to afford, to live in large energy-hungry houses. This Baby Boomer generation is realizing that having “things” is no longer as important as they once were. Downsizing is becoming the new mantra as they face the next few decades of their life and what it will cost to survive.
The Pure Salvage Living Movement is based on the pioneering work done by Tiny Texas Houses in the field of Tiny Portable and Healthy housing built from 99% Pure Salvage. The movement is founded on the idea that we can build energy efficient houses from the best of materials ever produced in America over the last couple centuries when quality resources were easily tapped and manpower was cheap. It results in a Sub Zero Carbon Footprint when the Tiny House is finished.
The 500-year-old trees that were once abundant became houses and buildings across the country and after one use is being thrown into landfills that are now composed of 51% building materials. Why waste all of that energy and landfill space when those irreplaceable resources can be reused in their present form as lumber, windows, doors, flooring, siding, and trim for the next generation of housing? Likewise, the best of all cast iron, brass, and bronze hardware for doors and windows are still functional after a hundred years of use and will continue to work well for the next century while also being repairable instead of disposable.
The carbon savings from a single cast iron sink or tub more than pays for the construction and new life energy requirements for this house for years. This means a gigantic saving in energy and resources from the standpoint of mining, manufacturing, distribution to the market place and the end users. It adds value based on the threefold longevity of the materials and compared with new hardware with built-in obsolescence as a marketing strategy. We will never grow the 300+-year-old trees to cut down again, nor have the access to the skilled artisans and materials that our ancestors had to work with when the built this country the first time.
With modern insulation like Icynene, it is possible to move away from fractured logic technologies like double paned glass that fogs up after 12 years, which is the time it takes for the payback on the more expensive product. Using old glass also means that we do not crank up furnaces to create new glass every 12 years, fuel to carry it out to the houses and replace the glass, and the oil-based vinyl used to hold the glass in place until it fails again 12 years later. Storm windows for colder climates and window films to block harmful sunlight allow people in Tiny Houses to have utility bills in the summer of less than $50 per month with the AC blaring in the South, thus dramatically reducing the need for disposable windows.
Furthermore, going back to designs where natural ventilation of the heat out of the house, natural cooling through air flow and placement of the houses to minimize heat gain all come together to reduce the energy needs of each person over their remaining life. This makes it viable for people to be able to afford to stay in their tiny house until the end of their lives because they can pay the utilities, taxes, maintenance, and share a smaller footprint on the ground thus freeing up land to grow their garden on. The concept of Tiny Texas Villages means people can live in groups with other like-minded people on land that would normally be consumed by a single larger Mac Mansion.
Pure Salvage Villages envision 10-15 Tiny Houses of up to 300 square feet on the main floor, plus lofts and porches. This could fit on an acre of land with 10,000 square feet of gardens for food, green space for trees and decorative plants. It would include a common meeting and eating-house in the middle for a large kitchen, some group meals, and entertainment. Wind generators and solar panels could power the whole village, which would have a minimal power consumption footprint because of good uses of shade, insulation, and planning. Water consumption could be minimized through grey water separation and filtration for reuse in greenery as well as operating toilets, and non-potable functions. Shared talents in each village would provide opportunities for ageing people or young people to grow food, do upkeep and maintenance, drive to the stores in groups to shop, cook together to minimize food waste, and to enjoy companionship with a like mind group that shares the village grounds.
Tiny Texas houses are built from the best materials and designed to last for centuries rather than decades as has become the norm. They use quality wood unlike most new housing built from trees grown in 19 years that are mostly soft cellulose and destined to decay quickly or be great candy for termites and bugs to eat. Using salvaged wood that has already cured and paints that do not outgas means providing a toxic-free environment without plasticizers, VOC’s, sheetrock, or glues that outgas to add to the toxin load that the Baby Boomer generation has already absorbed and can interfere with good health and our immune systems. For young families, it means a clean environment for children to grow up in and stay healthy.
By using LED lighting, low energy consuming appliances like induction cooktops and minimizing the size of the houses, it will be possible for people to live longer healthier lives. Lowering stress levels by reducing the financial burdens that come with maintaining more house than they need and having a community to share the challenges of ageing together with will also be healthier and delay or eliminate the need for moving into assisted care or worse, old folks homes. For the young, it means never becoming a slave to the burdens of owning big homes and expensive depreciating non-performing toys.
These are the principles that are going to be important to the Baby Boomers and the planet as a whole if we are to preserve the future for the next generation. If we lead by example, then perhaps the younger generations and the rest of the world that seeks to follow our lead will also see the logic, and the change in behavior, and likewise settle with being happy in their tinier houses, targeting a 0 carbon footprint instead of demanding giant houses that exemplify the excesses Americans have mastered more than any other nation in the world.
This is not a figment of the imagination because the proof that it can be done is before anyone who chooses to look and see we can build this way.
(For proof, www.tinytexashouses.com or Facebook . There are enough Salvageable Building materials sitting on the ground in this country right now to build the next generation of housing without ever needing to cut down another tree to build a house with, mine new ore for making hardware for doors and windows, glass, or mining copper for more wiring. All it will take is human energy, which given the high unemployment rates we are experiencing, means that jobs can be created at all levels, from Salvage Mining to Salvage Building, that cannot be exported but rather used to teach skills to our youth and provide a future for the masses.
This Pure Salvage Living solution unleashes a trillion dollars, possibly much more once the true value is recognized.
The impact to our local economies will be multi-tiered as employment is created from salvaging the old and the new houses that will be built will last for a century to insure the fabric of the community, the people that live and work locally, will always have energy efficient affordable, off-grid potential houses that they will be able to live in for the rest of their lives.
It is a treasure trove of invisible wealth in-the-form-of a commodity viewed as trash. This vast reserve of sequestered carbon is preformed, cut, baked, smelted, mined, and transported to the local area already. These troves of building materials can be tapped to create work and housing without using carbon or energy that is being wasted for construction now. We can make the new technologies blend with the best materials and products we ever created during the industrial revolution in the last century when we were known for making great products and re-task, reutilize, and revitalize our country at the same time. Best of all, we can build healthy houses for our families without imports that send the future they should have abroad. Individual choices change what happens every day.
If it works like I expect, we can reignite a pride in craftsmanship, simplicity, conservation, ingenuity, and preservation that once made us a country that was proud of what it created. I am afraid for what will happen if we waste what is left when there is nothing left to replace it and don’t pass on the knowledge or the tools to the generation that will inherit what we are leaving behind.
I hope this inspires people to think about the possibilities of changing their worlds in a new way they had not thought of before. Please ask questions, get involved, and stop the waste before it is too late. Let us start building our future out of it now, while we are still able, individually, physically, and joining together.
Better still, in the growing of this new paradigm, we may enable people to survive on the little savings that most of Americans now have to live out the rest of their lives with as they face retirement. Bartering, local shared resources programs, education about life skills and the incentivized opportunities that are a natural means of maximizing productivity and yield at any Salvage Mining site. I believe this has the potential to provide hope for the younger generation that will have to pay for the excess and taxes from wars and bailouts that have brought this country to its knees economically.
This is not just about saving electricity or fuels. it is about saving resources, tapping and maximizing the potential of human energy and imagination, and reigniting an American pride that is going to be lost if we do not pass along the knowledge of the baby boomers to the young as to how to build with our hands, create housing that will last for our grandchildren, and save what we have before it is all gone to rot in the landfills, never to be seen again.
My vision includes the bonuses of not just American profits, as in giant American companies, it means on a local level across the country where all the resources lay in open sight available for all to use. It is the treasure trove of resources our ancestors left to their children, not to be squandered, but saved and used to house the generations that would follow.
Pure Salvage Living is a natural non-violent way of revolutionizing the way we live in America that promotes individual choice as a solution. This is not a radical right wing or left wing idea. This movement is a local community solution that works to save the country from the bottom up by helping to rekindle and reknit small communities by joining to save not only the houses, barns, and trees, but the knowledge from the elders who built, lived in, and loved the many houses and buildings we are taking apart to reuse. We are promoting the simplest of solutions at the most local level to teach the kids the life skills they would need to survive if the 100-year reign of electricity should suddenly end modern society as we know it today.
Tiny Houses are not new in the rest of the world. The energy efficiency and use of small spaces have been mastered elsewhere but not in America for the most part. It needs to change right now. Tiny Houses can be built from salvaged materials and designed to last and to be energy efficient by combining the best of the past and present to create a home that everyone can enjoy. It means saving more energy and resources than most people presently imagine exist. When we wake up and see what we can do to teach the young kids how to build this sort of solution out of the strong bones of the industrial age of abundance. They have a future of Salvage Mining and stashing it away in community warehouses, Salvage Outposts I call them, to open the pipeline and meeting place with Salvage Builders, Salvage Hunters, and Salvage Miners. We should take the many abandoned global corporations buildings where the jobs have been moved overseas. Then we should use them to warehouse the resources we could tap to help keep us from needing any of the stuff those corporations will build in those factories the build overseas. No more IMPORTS than absolutely needed.
It is hard to believe that it could take so little carbon and money from the world to make it all happen. Working together to share knowledge, tools, trucks, trailers, and all the resources sitting around underused, going to waste when they could be facilitating the transformation of our country. How many giant empty abandoned global corporate buildings lie vacant that could be used for storing the treasure left to salvage and save for the next three generations to build. Taking what is wasted and using it rather than tearing it down unnecessarily or wasting what we could retrieve.
This manifestation of a solution that benefits so many will need donors and mentors who are not doing it for the 501c3 tax deduction but because they want to help make change happen, not just talk about it. Passing along the assets and knowledge it will take to the new generation that needs them is wonderful. But with the incredible hand tools and possibilities we give, more essential is the knowledge of how to use them. This is part of what the mentors will do in the big picture. They, with the donors, will help us pass along to the next generation the tools and knowledge, as well as the materials it will take to rebuild this country from the bottom up.
We have so much to pass ton the next generation before it is lost, especially about how to farm the land organically again, living together to use that on a local level and share when in abundance. Our generation that has seen the old homesteads deteriorate into obsolescence. Please don’t let them be wasted when they meant so much to so many for so long. They made this country possible by housing our forefathers from the weather so they could settle here.
We have the same forests around us now, except they are already cut up and ready to use. Bricks are formed, beams, windows, doors, and so much more, passed to us with the best of dreams and hopes that we would use them and appreciate the hard work and human energy it took to make them.
Nearly everything is here. Please join me in trying to save as much of it as possible and transform it into one of the many solutions needed by the people on the planet, the people of this country, an those immediately around us, locally first. It is something we can act on in the morning and start changing it in a positive way rather than dread the worst and not take action. Please join me in thinking and being part of the dialogue about a possible solution in a world of many different problems. Each idea here in covers many needs and is more credible because it does not use methods, resources, or regulatory linked subsidies like those proposed by government and big corporations that just make us more dependent on them and coming back for more. It does the opposite, it empowers people, incentivizes their work, and frees them to make the decisions about the future of their homes and community rather than waiting for someone else to come save the day.
Awake to the world of Pure Salvage Living my friends and fellow Earthlings. There is an incredible future at your front door. This is but one step of many ahead if we are going to prepare for the next stage of evolution in our species, the evolution of our psyche, our universal consciousness and the retooling of how our society lives. This is a natural friendly path to that end. Thank you for thinking about it.
Ghostwriter for BWK and Salvage, Texas.