Going Green

South Carolina (August 1, 2012) - Sometimes being a good neighbor is about more than just helping others. It also means improving your neighborhood while leaving a smaller impact on the environment.

For 10 years, State Farm® Agent Paula Hampton and her team enjoyed working out of the iconic 1948 West Ashley home on Savannah Highway in Charleston, S.C.

However, as her client base and staff expanded, it was obvious the agency was outgrowing the structure. Efforts had been made to expand the building -- the porch was converted to an office space and one employee worked in the finished attic space. This helped but wasn't enough.

Picture of white building: Paula Hampton's old office.

One solution: Build a new office.

While new construction offered several benefits, Hampton was concerned about the house, detached garage, and two bungalows on her property. She was not comfortable with all of the materials being dumped in a landfill.
"I knew I could call in a demolition crew and have it all gone in a few hours," she said, "but then it would just end up in our community's landfill."

Another option: Give the materials a new life by donating them to The Sustainable Warehouse and GreenBy3, local organizations that recycle materials.

This was by far the most appealing option.

Picture of new building: Paula Hampton's new office.

"When I visited The Sustainable Warehouse, I knew this was the way to go," Hampton said. "There were 7,500 square feet of salvaged lumber and building materials that people could shop for at a deep discount. It was exciting to see folks shopping and to know that my office would be recycled. Using The Sustainable Warehouse would set me back a little time-wise, but it's worth it."

The Sustainable Warehouse team systematically took apart the bungalows and garage board by board, window by window, piece by piece. The process was extremely quiet, clean and efficient. In less than a week, the three structures were removed.

One final hurdle in the renovations remained. How to protect the historic oak trees on the property.

"The trees provide such beauty to the Lowcountry, not to mention shade -- much needed here in Charleston," she said.

The new office was placed close to the highway with the parking lot in the rear, which is designed around the 100-year-old trees.

Left to right: Laura Holley, Cindy Smith, Shirley Ford, Paula Hampton, Mia Bingenheimer, Daniel Wilson, Linda Bunch, Freda Dumas

Plans include planting of more trees and indigenous plants. The new brick office is two stories. (Hampton intends to rent the second floor to another local business or two, reducing urban sprawl).
Energy-efficiency is a must, so special foam insulation was used in conjunction with other energy-saving features, including energy-efficient appliances. The agency continues using compact fluorescent lights and the recycling/document-shredding service.

Cox House Movers and Harbor Contracting jacked up the center portion of the original 1948 house, and rolled it to the back corner of the lot.

"We also removed and recycled the faulty porch and the addition to the opposite end," Hampton said. The house now sits on its new foundation and will be future office space to help pay for the bricks and mortar in the new building, she said.

"This community has been so supportive over the years," Hampton said. "As a private business owner, it's extremely important to me to maintain the great relationship we've established. The neighbors are elated that we were able to save 'the old girl.'"

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