Saanich homeowner Rishi Sharma loads a sink from his house into a Habitat for Humanity truck on Saturday. Sharma donated his house to Habitat and other non-profits in an attempt to reuse and recycle the structure prior to building two new houses on his Mount Douglas Cross Road lot.

Saanich homeowner Rishi Sharma loads a sink from his house into a Habitat for Humanity truck on Saturday. Sharma donated his house to Habitat and other non-profits in an attempt to reuse and recycle the structure prior to building two new houses on his Mount Douglas Cross Road lot.

Everything, including the kitchen sink

Saanich family donates house pegged for demolition to charity groups in attempt to reuse and recycle every scrap

The sun was out last Saturday when a small army of volunteers swarmed through Rishi Sharma’s Saanich house, and stripped it to the bone.

Door frames, cabinets, wood trim, cupboards, appliances, doors and lights fixtures – everything including the kitchen sink went into a Habitat for Humanity truck.

It’s the first time the Victoria arm of the charity organized the wholesale deconstruction of a house, and it will be a test case for the future. For Sharma, a 37-year-old provinical government employee who has subdivided his Mount Douglas Cross Road lot, this is the first step in his attempt to reuse and recycle his entire home.

“I knew I’d have to deconstruct this house. I thought I’d do one better and instead of just recycling, I wanted to donate the entire house for reuse,” Sharma said. “It was a vision I had that really no one has done before. It was a vision that became a mission.”

The dozen volunteers, most military members from CFB Esquimalt, spent Saturday crow-baring and unscrewing every removable piece of the house that could be sold at Habitat’s ReStore store in Langford.

In turn, that money will flow into the pool of funds Habitat uses to build affordable homes across Greater Victoria, 18 to date, and another four slated in Saanich for 2014.

Yolanda Meijer, the executive director for Habitat for Humanity in Victoria, said it’s unusual, but not unheard ofm for people to offer entire homes, although this was their largest salvage operation to date.

It was a good exercise for the organization, as volunteers could remove cupboards and appliances and not have to worry about damaging walls and floors. Meijer plans to track the sale of each item to see how much money a single house can generate, and how much material is diverted from the landfill.

“Every house deconstruction has recycling. We are pushing reuse,” Meijer said. “If you take out your kitchen intact, someone will buy it from us.

“Many people think about recycling. I want them to think about reusing. It doesn’t go into the landfill, and you get a tax receipt.”

Sharma plans to have the house recycled down to the foundation. Habitat for Humanity doesn’t have the capacity to strip out drywall, flooring and plywood, but volunteers from OUR Ecovillage, a 25-acre sustainable living demonstration site in Shawnigan Lake, plans to disassemble the remainder of the house to almost nothing.

Ecovillage executive director Brandy Gallagher said her group often takes what Habitat can’t to benefit their own project and as a means to divert waste from the traditional waste stream.

Gallagher said better financial incentives and systems need to be in place to allow homeowners and developers easier ways to recycle old buildings. As it stands now, allowing non-profits to salvage houses isn’t an efficient use of time for builders.

“The deconstruction field is up against time and money. It does take time to pull nails,” Gallagher said. “There is no credit for doing ethical things.”

Meijer agreed: “Homeowners have to realize this is not a cost saving exercise. It’s a shift in mindset about what happens to things we don’t want or need.”

At Sharma’s house, it doesn’t take long for volunteers to pack the Habitat cube truck with all the fixtures that define a home. Most participate out of a sense of duty to engage in community service, and they also support the underlying mission of Habitat.

“It’s a good organization, a good charity and you don’t have to be experienced to help,” leading seaman Malisa Ogunniya, 25, said while yanking nails from wood trim.

Sharma likes the idea that his old cupboards and fixtures will eventually help build affordable housing in the region. To him, it was important enough that he refused to give the appliances to his father, Surinder Sharma, the president Victoria Hindu Temple.

“I wanted (Rishi) to give the stove and fridge for the temple. But he said ‘No, this is a better cause,’” laughed the senior Sharma, who was lending a hand with the deconstruction.

“I think Rishi is doing the right thing. It’s nice to see this all going to use instead of going into the garbage. Somebody will use it.”

editor@saanichnews.com

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Tourists are being asked to postpone their non-essential trips to Tofino as COVID-19 cases rise across Vancouver Island, but at least one accommodation provider is offering conflicting messaging. (Westerly file photo)
Victoria woman says Tofino Airbnb host encouraged travel despite provincial restrictions

“The only way I would get a refund is if she would be able to rebook the suite for that weekend.”

A Victoria-based orthopedic surgeon has been reprimanded after using sexualized language during a surgical consult with a pre-teen patient. (Pixabay)
Victoria doctor fined and reprimanded for calling pre-teen patient a ‘loose woman’

Dr. Bruce Taro Yoneda admitted to using sexualized language in surgical consult

Victoria police are asking for the public’s help locating Alexander Stokes, 19. (Courtesy of VicPD)
Victoria police searching for missing teen

Police looking to ensure safety of Alexander Stokes, 19

Capital Regional District Animal Control say an eight-month-old Rottweiler bit a Langford mother and her child near Glen Lake on Nov. 19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Large dog attacks mother and child in Langford

Mother puts three-year-old on top of car to protect him

Cory Resilient was trapped in a cycle of homelessness for about six years before applying for residency at Anawim House, a sober recovery home in Victoria. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Oak Bay Talks goes online with homelessness

Existence Project brings Cory’s Story to Oak Bay

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

Product Care offers more than <a href="http://link.mediaoutreach.meltwater.com/ls/click?upn=pDYyTceU0YgTDdsd92GohdQJsmSiPFEkcB4MdMM0Qkoqb1aJA-2By5aWklKJXV6QRdyTteNjr2FccUOVLUe4t5Zw-3D-3D1ds-_KVyBcpjXADXifSWVpM8nQcAzSm9-2B6fEFnjVrTsOcu31irDHDxi5k0QTOIWCqMXUxaNbrf0yRzXSSpROCkfx3NkUtbr65Dkcw1J0by-2F-2BDdDiJGbcfhtjHWYSs66NwakeCCLYkj20e9ICIZsLcedqNZKBhsN0sGgBsInpdzsddYikUZkmQvFdxLJhakpgAA6aAJ5ScUoWR6vO9sM819vRB-2F6x7dsdfIaWa4ZgHxR4G7hauxgSJCsNI2bP5J62EFfM0aiDqRPwUPUjt7i5-2FMqpdJxrEBewnLky-2B3lE0JAmi5UsJBkJejuLOjsndZz4b7dNgbvt6KyewKuF0sxU2rpYgkAO9YAKc9STuFJd28Qn7jE0-2FqlB8HKOvpW150NHS-2BOMBcK5rkZ8YAuPqJy11k-2BgndiKB-2FWl2icAfbWtRGJPb8fM-3D" target="_blank">150 free drop-off locations</a> in B.C. (Pixabay.com)
Recycling broken or burnt string lights can reduce holiday landfill waste

In 2019, Product Care Recycling diverted more than 11.6 million light bulbs from landfills

Helen Watson, posing for a photo for her 100th birthday, turned 105 on Saturday (Nov. 21). (File photo)
B.C. woman who survived Spanish Flu marks 105 years

Helen Watson has packed a lot into life – including being in two pandemics

(Black Press Media files)
B.C. to test emergency alert system on cell phones, TVs, radios on Wednesday

The alert is part of a twice yearly test of the national Alert Ready system

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s inability to manufacture vaccines in-house will delay distribution: Trudeau

First doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in first few months of 2021, prime minister says

Phillip Tallio was just 17 when he was convicted of murder in 1983 (file photo)
Miscarriage of justice before B.C. teen’s 1983 guilty plea in girl’s murder: lawyer

Tallio was 17 when he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of his 22-month-old cousin

This undated photo issued by the University of Oxford shows of vial of coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, in Oxford, England. Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca said Monday Nov. 23, 2020, that late-stage trials showed its coronavirus vaccine was up to 90% effective, giving public health officials hope they may soon have access to a vaccine that is cheaper and easier to distribute than some of its rivals. (University of Oxford/John Cairns via AP)
VIDEO: How do the leading COVID vaccines differ? And what does that mean for Canada?

All three of the drug companies are incorporating novel techniques in developing their vaccines

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers at the project site in Kitimat. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared last Thursday (Nov. 19). (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
41 positive COVID-19 cases associated with the LNG Canada site outbreak in Kitimat

Thirty-four of the 41 cases remain active, according to Northern Health

Most Read