2008-06-05 / Front Page

Business owner wants to give away house to make way for green office

By Eileen M. Daly

For anyone in the market for an affordable house in Jamestown, one is being given away free. It's a 1,500 square foot, two-bedroom home, currently located on Clinton Avenue.

Victor Bell, owner of Environmental Packaging International (EPI), is giving a house away for free. The house, located right behind his business, is up for grabs, he said.

Bell explained that the company has outgrown its current space and plans have been made to build a state of the art, LEED certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design,) environmentally friendly, green, office building on the lot where the free house now sits. The LEED rating system is a third party rating system for the design, construction and operation of green buildings, Bell said.

EPI has been headquartered at its existing location at 41 Narragansett Ave. since its inception. The lot currently contains EPI headquarters, a small freestanding garage, and the single family home. The plan is to take down the garage in an environmentally sound manner, donate the single-family home, and create a new twostory headquarters for EPI that will front on Clinton Avenue, Bell said.

Bell described the new two-story EPI headquarters, which will have a gabled roof, low stone walls and a planted trellis which will surround the perimeter. There will be a "green roof," atop the conference room and the building will utilize an energy neutral power source. Architect Mary Meagher will design the building, Bell added.

In order to obtain a high LEED rating, Bell and EPI wish to dispose of the Clinton Avenue home in the most environmentally sound manner possible. Since the most environmentally sound way of disposing of the house would be to not dispose of it at all; Bell and his staff came up with the idea of giving it away. The only stipulation is that the new owner must remove the house from its current location.

Moving a house is no small task, however, and knowing this, Bell and EPI have offered to assist with moving costs up to the amount it would cost to dispose of the property in an environmentally-sound manner. The house will be given to any individual or company that has the means to move it. Interested parties may contact Victor Bell at EPI, 423-2225, to discuss the details and make arrangements for the transfer.

The idea to give away the house was formed as part of a larger plan to expand EPI. The company was founded ten years ago by Victor Bell and currently employs 16 people, a number of whom are Jamestown residents. Bell himself is a longtime Jamestown resident who currently lives with his wife Lynn on Ocean Avenue. In the 1980's while working at the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, Bell developed Rhode Island's household recycling program.

EPI is a consulting company in the forefront of the global environmental movement. As more and more countries around the world develop regulations for responsible environmental management, compliance with these varied regulations becomes more complex, Bell explained. Regulations requiring companies to be responsible for the packaging, electronics and batteries associated with their products can be quite intricate and may vary from country to country. EPI assists companies like Microsoft, Coca-Cola, Estee Lauder, Nike, Kraft and others to conform to these diverse multinational regulations.

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