Globe & Mail | March 4, 2023
Glyn Lewis, owner of Renewal Home Development, has made a business out of recycling houses, and he’s pushing for municipalities to make moving houses – rather than demolishing them – a priority wherever it’s possible. On his social media, he features houses that are only a few years old, in perfect condition, and ended up demolished.
The trick is getting them moved before a demolition permit is issued. One way to do that is to issue an “early green removal permit” so that companies who move houses can get them moved early in the redevelopment process.
“The day the developer gets their demo permit, they want the house gone as fast as possible. Time is money,” Mr. Lewis says.
He says thousands of homes are demolished.
An early removal permit would save developers time and money because they wouldn’t have to demolish or deconstruct.
“That way they have a clear bare lot the day they get their development or building permit and they can begin construction on day one.”
As well, an empty home is quickly vulnerable to vandalism and fire risk, so municipalities should be motivated to have them sustainably relocated, Mr. Lewis says.
CBC Vancouver | February 26, 2023
Supporters hope to save 111-year-old Vancouver schoolhouse from demolition
Surrounded by metal gates with construction vehicles rumbling by, the bright yellow schoolhouse at Henry Hudson Elementary on Vancouver's west side is on the verge of demolition.
Supporters hope to convince the Vancouver School Board (VSB) to consider ways to save the 111-year-old building, located on the corner of Maple Street and Cornwall Avenue, from the wrecking ball.
"It's a well-maintained, charming little schoolhouse, and it would [be] tragic if it was demolished, both from an environmental perspective and from a community character perspective," said Glyn Lewis of Renewal Home Development, who is pushing to have the school repurposed and relocated to another community.
Vancouver is Awesome | February 23, 2023
The little yellow schoolhouse on the corner of Maple Street and Cornwall Avenue was never the flashiest building on the block.
A small, wooden structure built around 1912, it's been an auxiliary building at Henry Hudson Elementary for the better part of a century. However, now that the school is being torn down to build a new, more seismically safe school, the yellow schoolhouse (which currently houses a childcare society) was slated to be demolished as well.
Enter Glyn Lewis and his company Renewal Home Development. Lewis only found out about the impending demolition of the schoolhouse (which isn't on the city's heritage register) through happenstance.
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City TV Vancouver | May 28, 2022
Globe & Mail | May 20, 2022
Cutting the environmental cost of redevelopment
There has been much discussion about the need for housing supply and increased density in Vancouver. But what that means for the environment has been given short shrift, say those in the housing industry who are concerned about the sustainability of massive redevelopment.
It matters because buildings and their construction are responsible for nearly one-third of total global energy consumption, according to the International Energy Agency.
“Metro Vancouver and Greater Victoria are experiencing an unprecedented explosion in residential home demolitions,” says Glyn Lewis, “and the process to achieve urban density is proving to be unbelievably wasteful.” The 38-year-old entrepreneur and his company, Renewal Home Development, aim to save existing house, repurpose and retrofit them to be energy efficient and give them a contemporary facelift.
Mr. Lewis says he is all for more density. He just doesn’t like the wastefulness of getting there.
“This year alone, 2,800 single-family homes across Metro Vancouver will end up in local landfills. As a result, over 250,000 old and new growth trees embodied in these homes will be thrown away in the next 12 months,” says Mr. Lewis. “With all the pressures for urban density, this wastefulness will only get worse.”
“We are going through a grand demolition across Metro Vancouver and Greater Victoria and that’s happening because all levels of government are promoting urban densification, because we are trying to address the housing shortage crisis, and to build complete communities, and trying to invest in mass transportation,” he says.
Daily Hive Vancouver | May 19, 2022
Opinion: Old houses should be relocated and reused, not sent to landfills
GUEST SUBMISSION | DAILY HIVE VANCOUVER
Meeting public demand for new and affordable housing is causing a major unintended consequence: Metro Vancouver and Greater Victoria are experiencing an unprecedented explosion in residential home demolitions.
Enabled by federal, provincial, and local government policies favouring densification, developers are gobbling up single-family dwellings and then bulldozing the homes to build higher-density townhomes, condominiums, and apartment buildings.
If you drive down Cambie Street or Oak Street, Broadway, around SkyTrain’s Evergreen Extension in Coquitlam, or James Bay/Esquimalt, you’ll see a glimpse of this Grand Demolition underway. For sale and land assembly signs are ubiquitous.
Globe & Mail | March 26, 2021
Rescue homes at the heart of a new community on B.C.’s Sunshine Coast
On the Sunshine Coast, a short ferry ride from the Lower Mainland, two enterprising millennials plan to assemble a unique neighbourhood entirely from scratch, to help other millennials like themselves find a sustainable, close-knit community – by barging in and upcycling old character houses that would have otherwise gone to the landfill.
One by one, as they find houses that are available, they will move them to a large property on the Sunshine Coast, where residents will live mostly off the grid, without water-sucking lawns and gas-guzzling cars. Theirs will be more than a mere development or urban planning project. Instead, they aim to create the Canadian version of a progressive movement for younger people who are disenchanted with the status quo, and who seek a back-to-basics but modern way of living. Their inspiration is Culdesac Tempe, which is a car-free apartment neighbourhood that will ultimately house 1,000 residents on a 17-acre lot outside Phoenix. Culdesac’s founders are San Francisco tech industry workers who are planning to scale the concept into future car-free communities for thousands of residents. They aim to build the first car-free city, and after initially being ignored, the startup has found substantial interest from investors.
And with the pandemic making remote work viable, that concept, says Renewal Home Development founders Glyn Lewis and Alan McNee, now has even greater potential.
Sunshine Coast Reporter | October 15, 2021
Company ‘recycling’ demolition-bound homes
SUNSHINE COAST REPORTER
A house that could be a new model for sustainable development is testing the waters on the Sunshine Coast for interest in character homes saved from demolition and barged in, and a focus on sustainability.
The two-storey black house that now sits on the corner of Veterans and Fitchett Road in Elphinstone is new to the area, but it’s not a new building. The house was originally built in 1961 in Maillardville, Coquitlam, but was destined for demolition when it and three others were bought by a developer who wanted to build townhouses.
Instead, the one-storey rancher was barged over from the Lower Mainland by Nickel Bros House Moving Ltd. in late 2020 to become the first project by Renewal Home Development.
BCIT News | September 21, 2021
Conscious home developer salvages homes from landfills and reduces carbon footprint by planting trees
Their first project entailed uprooting a blue rancher from a Coquitlam neighbourhood. The house was carefully placed on trailer and slowly pulled by a semi-truck to a barge. The house was then transported down the Fraser River and docked at the Sunshine Coast.
When the house arrived at its destination, Lewis and his company completed a full renovation and retrofitted the home to be energy efficient. The house was then equipped with solar panels, which provides 80 per cent of the house’s electrical needs. Lewis implemented garden boxes for the homeowner to grow produce. Lewis even installed a rain catcher to create a reservoir to water the garden.
Lewis was inspired to start a sustainable development company that has minimal impact on the environment. His vision is to step away from antiquated wasteful ways and believes in ‘up-cycling’ and extending the house’s life, instead of demolition.
“The world as we know it is radically unsustainable, I think development as a term and as a concept is unbelievably flawed. It relies so heavily on resource extraction and consumption and then waste,” says Lewis
Lewis’s vision of a sustainable development company is part of a movement that is part of the solution for a greener world.
“That means sustainability, recycling, removing waste from landfills, renewable energy. It means all those things packaged into “home development.”