Low-Income Houses Built from Recycled Materials

When it comes to building a house it should not be too hard to come up with the basic materials. The traditional home is made out of wood, brick, metals, plastics and more. Dan Phillips from Huntsville, Texas has decided to go against the paradigms of the basic make up and attack it from a brand new angle.

If you ever drive through Huntsville, Texas you will notice the traditional homes that line the streets. Take a look closer and you might see one of the creations made by Dan Phillips, 64, who about twelve years ago decided to start building low income houses out of trash. In order to make this possible back in 1997, Phillips decided to mortgage his house to start up his company Phoenix Commotion. This was all inspired by the irony, which landfills are crammed with building materials yet there is a lack of affordable housing. Attempting to kill two birds with one stone Phillips decided to use the wasted building materials and other garbage to build and provide low-income housing for people.

Phillips believes that anything durable that is thrown away can be used as a building material. For instance, in one of his homes the ceiling is made up of thousands of picture frame corners that form a colorful design. Now with 14 homes built in his hometown, Huntsville, Phillips says 80 percent of the materials he uses are recycled. Besides using the traditional two by four or four by eight studs, common sizes for a house, Phillips uses recycled end cuts from other builders to build the house. On top of that he is known to use mismatched brick, shards from ceramic tile, shattered mirrors, and even wine corks.

Phoenix Commotion employs just five minimum wage construction workers but the staff doesn’t stop there. Phillips requires the labor of the resident the home is being built for. In order to assure the houses are up to standards Phillips is constantly in talks with professional engineers, electricians, and plumbers. Initially designed and built for low-income residents the housing payments ranged from $99 to $300 per month.

Unfortunately, some of the residents could not keep up with their payments and the houses were lost to foreclosure. This does not mean Phillips’ creations went unoccupied, these homes resold promptly to more comfortable buyers. Still Phillips’ stays committed to his goal in providing low-income housing by developing attractive and affordable homes with recycled materials.

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2 Responses to “Low-Income Houses Built from Recycled Materials”

  1. Wow! Dan Phillips is the modern Recycling Renaissance Housebuilder man! As an Irish upholsterer’s daughter, I appreciate the soul and spirit of an individual who sees one person’s trash as treasure for others. God bless the creativity and charity of Dan’s work to make home for others while training new unskilled workers into builders and craftsmen. We need more Dan Phillips in the world to help others and help the planet. I just saw the story on Dan Phillips on Wed. November 24th, 2009 on the Today Show and it made my day.

  2. Rhonda Mahaffey says:

    To Whomever It May Concern: I applaud Mr. Phillips’ endeavors! This is the greatest thing I have heard of in the last decade. I have never been a homeowner for many reasons, but one of the reasons is houses of today in my area of the country are not the desirable unless, of course, you have a million dollars! Words cannot express how wonderful I felt when I saw this creations on The Today Show today! I would choose one of his houses over brand new houses and certainly any ‘condo’! What an inspiration to know there is someone out that such as Mr. Phillips. Huntsville is lucky! I’m still applauding . . . Rhonda Mahaffey

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