Sandwiched between Whirlyball and Mariano’s in Bucktown is a treasure trove of discarded scraps – the ReBuilding Exchange, an inconspicuous haven for home remodeling.
On Tuesday, October 22, 2019, members of the Chicago Association of REALTORS® (CAR) and CommercialForum visited ReBuilding Exchange to learn the sustainable practice of repurposing salvaged metal and wood. Their finished projects will be donated to the Hephzibah Home, a group home in Oak Park.
“We chose ReBuilding Exchange for a few reasons,” Jacob Knabb, the CAR Director of Commercial Services, said. “They are a not-for-profit that walks the walk when it comes to sustainability in real estate. Their model is built around the idea of saving useful building materials from landfills and giving them a second life by making new things from them.”
“It’s great exposure,” Carrie Rasor, Education Manager at ReBuilding Exchange, said about partnering with Chicago REALTORS®. “A lot of people don’t know who we are or what we do. There are only a few places like this in the city.”
ReBuilding Exchange partners with Blue Earth Deconstructing to get wood and metal from demolitions across Chicagoland. They then give the pieces new life and host workshops to help others learn the craft.
“It’s been fantastic, I like the hands-on instruction,” Dan Hellweg, Baird & Warner, said as he removed his safety goggles. Hellweg, a self-described Community Connector, volunteered his morning not just to give back, but also to pick up a new skill.
“I have very little experience with woodworking,” Dan said. “With CAR, it’s about making the most out of it and doing what you want with it.” Proudly standing by the dining room table he and eleven other REALTORS® constructed, Dan expressed the sense of pride he had in the work they accomplished that day. “There’s always that moment [after finishing a project] of excitement,” he added. “I’ve always wanted to do projects like this.”
Partnerships and projects like this are part of CAR’s Sustainability Work Group. “REALTORS® love opportunities to give back to their communities,” Knabb said. “We were excited about the opportunity to bring together committee members from CommercialForum, Global Council, Women’s Council of REALTORS®, CAR’s Board of Directors, the Sustainability Work Group and dedicated members of the greater Chicago REALTOR® community for this cool event.”