Voices of Detroit: Neighbors Helping Neighbors Live Sustainably

The El Moore Greenhouse with its beautiful red recycled roof tiles, will be used by residents to grow their own plants and food right on the property.

The El Moore, a residential apartment complex that is designed to be a model of urban sustainable living, is located on the 600 block of West Alexandrine, which is considered part of the Midtown area of Detroit. When fully completed in the 2nd half of 2016, the El Moore complex will include five separate components: the El Moore Residences, thirteen annual rental apartments; the El Moore Lodge, a 10-room urban lodge that will be a connection to the community for short-term visitors to our city; the El Moore Gardens that will be a community gathering space and performance venue for the entire surrounding neighborhood; the El Moore Seasons, which will be a four season, indoor/outdoor retail building for entrepreneurial businesses to serve the wider community; and the Green Alley, which will be a beautifully restored greenway to promote walkability, environmental sustainability, and increased economic activity.

One of the ongoing goals of the El Moore Project is to engage with other Detroit neighborhoods in promoting sustainable practices around our city. The new greenhouse structure on the El Moore property, which was built entirely with reclaimed materials, is an excellent example of “neighbors helping neighbors with sustainability”.

The Historic Boston Edison District is a 100-year-old neighborhood a few miles north of the El Moore.
The Historic Boston Edison District is a 100-year-old neighborhood a few miles north of the El Moore.

The beautiful red tiles on the roof of the greenhouse were reclaimed from a home in the historic Boston-Edison neighborhood a few miles north of the El Moore. The owner of a nearly one hundred year old home in Boston-Edison was refinishing his roof, and instead of just disposing of the original tiles, decided that they could be reused. One of the reconstruction supervisors of the El Moore found out about the tiles, and the owner of the home and his son were glad to donate the tiles to the El Moore.

Homeowners who did not consider recycling or sustainable restoration to be a priority would have just thrown those priceless historic tiles into a Dumpster®, possibly breaking most of them in the process.

The Boston-Edison homeowners, however, manually lowered each tile one-by-one onto pallets supplied by the El Moore so the tiles could be reused as the roof of the El Moore Greenhouse.

Beautiful and historic red roof tiles being carefully preserved and donated for sustainable reuse from one historic structure to another is a perfect example of how all neighborhoods in the City of Detroit can work together grow and prosper in a sustainable way.