GREENWICH, Conn. – Steve Feldman, head of the Greenwich-based nonprofit Green Demolitions, wants to change how luxury homeowners renovate by promoting recycling and a charitable giveback program through Renovation Angel.
“A lot of people who would like to renovate their kitchens would be more motivated to renovate if they knew there was home for that kitchen,” said Feldman. “It’s really a win-win. People feel like they’re doing something good for charity and that they’re not hurting the environment. And they feel good because they get the kitchen that they want.”
Green Demolitions chooses qualifying projects then workers come in and remove items homeowners wish to donate – including entire kitchens – for free. Since 2005, the nonprofit has recycled more than 2,000 kitchens. Through the resale of donated kitchens and estate items, more than $1.7 million has been distributed to support a series of addiction recovery outreach programs.
“When I first came up with Green Demolition, it had to do with mansions in Greenwich being demolished. Now it’s not really a demolition world. Instead, everyone is renovating,” says Feldman, who credits his wife, Lisa, the group’s vice president, with the idea.
Through Renovation Angel, wealthy residents in Greenwich and beyond who are taking on luxury renovations can have their old kitchens recycled while giving back to their favorite charities.
Renovators can submit a project to find out whether it qualifies for a tax deduction, free and insured removal and transport, as well as a “Give Back” to support a cause.
Donation items include kitchens, appliances, countertops, bathrooms, architectural elements, lighting, artwork, furniture and home décor. Feldman then sells the donated appliances and furniture for a fraction of the original price through stores in the tri-state area and online.
The “Give Back” is based on the total donation's resale value. For example, if your donation's resale is $5,000 to $9,999, you would receive $100. But if it resells for $100,000 and up, you would receive $10,000.
“It comes down to awareness. We want every architect, designer and real estate agent to know about our program so that when the right program comes along, nothing gets thrown in the Dumpster,” says Feldman. “People don’t know there’s an easy alternative.”
Actress Edie Falco and New York Giants wide receiver Amani Toomer have used Renovation Angel. Feldman says if enough high-profile people talk about combining renovating with making charitable donations, other people will see it as a model to do it, too.
Green Demolitions started in Greenwich, and Fairfield County still represents a third of its most concentrated market, but Feldman says they are already expanding.
“Because the economy has decreased so has the number of luxury renovations,” he says. “Our crews go as far north as New Hampshire and as far south as Virginia. We’ve done projects in Chicago, Florida, and as far away as Scottsdale, Arizona. We’re launching the donation program in California by the end of the year.”
As far as a long-term plan, Feldman says that through widespread exposure and partnering with designers and those in the luxury home industry, the company can change the culture of home renovations.