Special Report: Going Green

Special Report: Going Green

Building homes that save you cash and the environment.
A growing trend is catching on... Going green is something you  see in Los Angeles and San Francisco, but one design building team in Tulare is paving the way for a greener lifestyle right here in the Central Valley.

In this CBS47 Special Report, Brittney Hopper takes us through sustainable design strategies.

A home in a quiet Tulare neighborhood is causing a lot of chatter. Designer Michael Pinheiro said, "Using it kind of as an educational tool, a show piece in a sense, to demonstrate to people what can be done and what we can do in this area."

Michael grew up in the home. He and his wife bought it from his parents and he wanted to gut the home and bring it back lean, mean and green. "There's a ton of different benefits, not just on the financial side, but also on the personal side," said Michael.

Michael and his partner, Shane Baesemann, made it their goal to recycle, reduce and reuse while remodeling the home. For example, he used existing concrete to cut square slabs for placement around the yard. And during construction, only two small loads of trash were taken to the local landfill, compared to the average 30 large loads normally removed from a typical remodel. "You know we have a dump out here that we go to and as a kid, I remember it was just a little hole and now it's just growing and growing. So for this area, agriculture is our main staple of jobs, money and the economy, so if you start taking up that land, you're taking away money," said Shane.

Green homes are good for the environment and they're also good for your health. From paint to air conditioning, to using non chemical products -- the project has the whole family breathing easier. "We have a young child here and she's already struggling with asthma and allergy issues because of the air quality in this area, which we're kind of stuck with by default, but at least we have control over this environment and we can do things to at least put her in a slightly healthier environment while she's growing up," said Shane.

A neighbor down the street saw Michael and Shane building a green home and wanted to be part of it. Rebecca brown hired the team to build an extension to her family home made out of recycled shipping containers. "It's exciting. It's neat to know you can do something like this and it's neat to know it's possible with a lot of people's help, with a lot of ideas from people," said Rebecca.

The extension is made of two separate shipping containers. They're the same containers you see on trucks driving on freeways, freight trains, or stacked on cargo ships. "It was meant to ship things but now your re-purposing it to live in, to use as a livable space," said Shane.

The container home is still a work in progress, but this type of home is gaining popularity world wide. "It's been long but I think it's been worth it. The pay off will be really great and its nice to be innovative and it's good to show your kids," said Rebecca.

There is another green project in Tulare that's been getting lots of positive reviews. It's the public library. Pinheiro was on hand to help with the design of that one too. Over a quarter of the building is recycled materials. Tulare Librarian Mary-Catherine Oxford said "It is an important thing to do. And just because other people aren't doing it in the area, that if a few of us take the opportunity and we lead in that area, it will start to become a trend and I think more people will take that direction and take it seriously."
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