Back in 2011, Anders Lewendal, a home builder and economics graduate, set out to build a home in Bozeman, Montana entirely of American-made building materials. I’ve actually been in that home. It’s beautiful. Back then, Lewendal was saying if builders used just five percent more American-made building materials, it would create 220,000 jobs.
“There’s not a thing in that whole house that isn’t made in this country,” Lewendal said in an interview with GCN Live on Thursday.
The story drew the eye of ABC and a three-part series about the all-American home resulted. Unfortunately, the idea didn’t take, and that’s likely due to the increased cost of buying American, Lewendal said.
“For a very, very entry-level home, the cost could be 15 percent more. Now, if you’re building a high-end custom home … the cost increase could be nothing,” Lewendal informed.
Lewendal said it was harder to track down American-made products back then because he didn’t have a list of American-made building materials. Now, though, you can find just about everything you need to build your home with American-made products at AmericansWorking.com.
Building a home from American-made building materials has a huge impact on the U.S. economy. According to the U.S. Lumber Coalition, U.S. sawmills and wood preservation industries employ over 90,000 workers across America, which represents an annual payroll of over $3 billion. The U.S. forest products industry is thriving, too, as American forestry exports set a new record in 2015.
The American forest products industry is the fourth largest in the world, but confirming that the lumber you’re using to build your home was born and raised in America is a little harder with Canadian imported lumber coming across the border. Just ask the folks at the home improvement store where they get their lumber. If it’s Columbia Forest Products you’re in the clear. Most Home Depot stores carry Columbia. Screw your lumber together with Brynolf Manufacturing screws.
When it comes to your foundation, it’s a pretty good bet your cement is local. Genova sells American-made PVC pipe for your plumbing, and Pipe-Tytes also makes its parts in America. The Restoria Bathtub Company and Mansfield Plumbing make beautiful bathtubs and toilets right here in the U.S. Rachiele has been making sinks in America since 1999. When it comes to bathroom and kitchen cabinets, The Original Granite Bracket Company, Bertch Cabinet, and Wellborn Cabinets are all local options.
When it comes to running electricity, Mulberry Metals is the only company I could find providing electrical parts that are made in America. There’s no shortage of window producers in the United States, though. I know there’s a Marvin plant in Grafton, N.D., and you can find four more options here. There’s also a plethora of American-made door companies.
Benchmark Foam in South Dakota is your foam insulation provider, and Dupont makes some of the best selective barrier products out there. I’ve seen Tyvek withstand a thunderstorm before we had a chance to put shingles over it and not a drop of water got through the roof. Typar products also provide adequate weather protection. Owens Corning has been producing fiberglass insulation in America since 1935. Fastening shingles or metal can be done with Great American Specialty Fasteners. It doesn’t get more American than that.
It wouldn’t be much of a home without a roof over your head. Classic Metal Roofing Systems provides metal roofing products that are made right here in the U.S. Auburn Tile sells concrete roofing tiles that look great, and if you’re wanting a traditional shingle, GAF has been king since 1886. I would recommend putting a roof over your head that makes your electric bill a thing of the past, and I don’t mean attaching a solar panel to your roof. Tesla has managed to create beautiful roofing tiles that convert solar energy into electricity. It even pays for itself in eight to 11 years.
Vinyl siding for your all-American home can be found here, and if you want that old-timey, log cabin look, check out EverLog Concrete Log Systems. Ventilation products can be found here. Uptown Floors, Homerwood Hardwood Flooring and ModuTile are all American-made flooring options. If you’re willing to lay down tile (trust me, it’s a literal pain in the backside), here’s a list of American, ceramic tile companies.
When it comes to heating your all-American home, I recommend radiant heat. Calorique in Massachusetts has been providing American-made radiant heating since 1980. And lighting your all-American home is as easy as going here for fixtures and then buying bulbs from Bright Lights USA, Aero-Tech Light Bulb Company or Light Bulbs Etc.
If you want to put up fencing, Aluminum Fences Direct is out of North Carolina, Centaur Fencing does business in Alabama, and Delgard Premier Aluminum Fencing is also American-made. Genova even makes PVC fencing products.
Understandably, not everyone can afford to build the all-American home, so consider an American Tiny House. Tiny homes are very trendy right now and cost around $70,000 for 320 square feet. They’re delivered pre-fabricated and look a whole lot bigger than they actually are.
If you don’t require a lot of space this is a great way to become an all-American homeowner, and owner Andrew Pleban said tiny homes are completely customizable, so if you want American-made, they’ll find American-made products.
“We’re a custom builder, and we’re building what the customer wants so sometimes and we have to go out and get it,” he said, adding that about 95 percent of all their models are made from building materials made in America.
So not only is it possible to build a home from all-American building materials, but it’s been done and should continue to be done. In the next part of our “Made in America” series, we’ll decorate your home with all-American products.
Much has been written about the man forcibly removed from the United Airlines Flight #3411 but for those that missed it, a quick recap:
Audra D. Bridges, a passenger on flight 3411, captured video of a man being forcibly ejected from the plane. Security violently yank him from his seat, smash his face into an arm bar and drag him off the plane. Bridges posted the video on Facebook with, “Please share this video. We are on this flight. United overbooked the flight. They randomly selected people to kick off, so their standby crew could have a seat. This man is a doctor and has to be at the hospital in the morning. He did not want to get off. We are all shaky and so disgusted. #unitedairwaves.” Overnight the video went viral.
It is a fact universally acknowledged, that Dr. David Dao, the man forcibly ejected, is not a criminal. He committed no crime on board the plane. He was not even doing anything particularly wrong. He wasn't even doing anything obnoxious; like reclining his chair too far back encroaching on the personal space of the passenger behind him! It had nothing to do with what he did. No, it was what he didn’t do that was the problem. He didn’t acquiesce when asked to submit to, “The Volunteering!” He didn’t jump high enough. He didn’t jump fast enough. And if there is one thing the AUTHORITY hates, it’s when people don’t instantly, and blindly, obey.
When Dr. Dao didn’t comply with “The Volunteering!” the folks at United “had no choice” but to call the cops. Chicago PD was quick to the scene and with assistance from airport security officers, snatch dangerous Dr. Dao from his seat and give him what for!
United Airlines quickly throws gallons of gasoline on the fire when CEO Oscar Munoz Tweets a tone deaf response: “This is an upsetting event to all of us here at United. I apologize for having to re-accommodate these customers. Our team is moving with a sense of urgency to work with the authorities and conduct our own detailed review of what happened. We are also reaching out to this passenger to talk directly to him and further address and resolve this situation.”
Late night comedians have a field day with the corporate goon phrase, “re-accommodate these customers.” The negative press coverage and social media hatestorm cause shares in United Continental Holdings Inc to fall approximately 2.5 percent (about a $500 million loss to its market cap).
Munoz, eventually, goes on TV and offers a more legitimate apology but his sympathy is clearly, a day late and a dollar short.
Do you think there will be a lawsuit? Or a made for TV movie? And will you be able to slip in a Scooby Doo reference?
There already is a lawsuit. And United will settle for an obscene amount of money. Other repercussions trickle in:
The Chicago officer and both security guards are on paid administrative leave pending an investigation.
All customers who were on the flight will receive a full refund.
People on the flight continue the negative press and publish their accounts, “I was on United flight 3411. Here’s what I saw.”
Endless late night mocking including this amazing Jimmy Kimmel “honest” commercial.
At this point, if United had really wanted to make room for their crew, they could have offered every single passenger on board fifty thousand dollars and still come out far ahead of the deal than where they are at now.
Though, to be honest, things like this happen all the time. All airlines overbook flights and sometimes a carrier will have to shuffle crew around. Which, in turn, means that sometimes paying passengers will get bumped from flights. Obviously, how you deal with the scenario is the question.
I was bumped from a flight once. About fifteen years ago I was flying out of JFK NY to MPLS and, while awaiting departure, the call came over the speaker asking for volunteers to take a next morning flight. I leapt out of my seat, “Me! Me! That’s me! This guy! Right here! I will! I’ll take that free extra night in NYC! Thank you very much Mr. AUTHORITY!” Wasn’t so bad, actually. Free hotel, free dinner, extra night in the Big Apple. But I’m a white guy who wanted to stay. I didn’t need privilege to help me out, I was all for it.
Dr. Dao didn’t want to stay. He didn’t want to participate in the “The Volunteering!” He resisted. And I don’t mean he physically resisted, because he did not, I mean he resisted the order to comply with the AUTHORITY. And United Airlines severely punished him for his resistance. And then they thought they could get away with it. And they would have gotten away with it too if it hadn’t been for those meddling kids with their pesky cell phone cameras and that social media thing!
As for a, “made for TV movie?” Only time will tell. But just in case a network executive is reading, I will totally write and direct that movie! But it has to be a feature. You already know the title, "The Volunteering!” Starring Samuel Jackson. Warning though -- I’d make it a horror film. Imagine the voice over for the trailer:
“Flight 3411. Assault, blood and the screams of an innocent man. Unsuspecting passengers witness horror unlike that they have even known. “The Volunteering” begins, its wrath a terror to see -- and on the morrow -- it comes for thee! (At this point in the trailer Sam Jackson stands up from his seat and yells… wait-for-it...) ‘I've had it with this mother f**king volunteering on this mother f**king plane!’”
Would you watch that movie? I would totally watch that movie!