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General Motors Turns Industrial Scraps Into Home Sweet Home

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jeffgilbert Jeff Gilbert
Automotive reporter for WWJ Newsradio 950 and CBS Radio News....
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DETROIT (WWJ) – Take one huge shipping container, add furniture made from wood pallets, insulation from cars and some assorted industrial leftovers, bring in volunteers from GM’s Detroit-Hamtramck Plant, and you end up with a very unique two-bedroom, 320 square foot house.

“It’s using the relics of industry, and things that wouldn’t be reused in one of the greenest ways possible,” said Darin McLesky, co-founder of the Michigan Urban Farming Initiative.

This particular house will go onto one of those urban farms. It will be used to house interns, and will also be open to those who are interested in studying the process for other uses.

The home will be made of 85 percent scrap material provided by General Motors. GM global manager of waste reduction John Bradburn says the idea of turning leftover material into housing isn’t all that new.

“Really it’s about taking those historical type applications and applying new technologies, new inventions, new ideas, particularly in urban areas.”

The container home is about 40 feet long, eight feet wide and 10 feet tall. When completed this spring, the home will feature 320 square feet of living space with two bedrooms, a bathroom and kitchen.

“This innovative project allows our facility to give back even more and be an integrated community partner while reusing materials that would otherwise be discarded,” said Doneen McDowell, Detroit-Hamtramck plant manager. “MUFI’s plan to reinvent urban agriculture is a creative approach that helps Detroit’s renaissance in a sustainable, efficient manner.”

While Detroit is tearing down thousand of abandoned homes, McLesky says most are in poor shape, and would require a large investment for renovation.

“The cost of renovating those homes, and the time that it takes, especially with scrappers and all sorts of people who like to destroy and wreck things, you need something that can more rapidly be implemented.”

Connect with Jeff Gilbert
Email: jdgilbert@cbs.com
Facebook: facebook.com/carchronicles
Twitter: @jefferygilbert

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