Northern New York Newspapers
NNY Business
NNY Living
Thu., Oct. 8
Serving the communities of Jefferson, St. Lawrence and Lewis counties, New York
In print daily. Online always.
Related Stories

End in sight for green Lorraine house made with recycled tires (VIDEO)


LORRAINE — A house made primarily out of discarded car tires is rolling toward completion, after years of grueling work by Anthony S. Cronk and his family.

The two-story, three-bedroom home has been planned for more than five years, with construction taking place since the summer of 2010.

So far, Mr. Cronk has painstakingly placed about 1,200 tires filled with dirt and mud, at a maximum pace of three or four tires per hour, and he said he had about 100 more to place.

“I didn’t think it would take this long,” said Mr. Cronk, a technology teacher at South Jefferson Middle School, Adams. “Years later I’m still pounding tires.”

In the past two years, the Cronks have made massive strides toward making the house a reality, including finishing most of the structural work, and placing some of the exterior framing.

“This is his baby,” said Melissa A. Fregoe-Cronk, Mr. Cronk’s wife and a science teacher at Watertown High School.

After all the Goodyears and good years of work, the goal is for the house to be finished by the start of the 2014 school year.

“It’s worth the wait,” Ms. Fregoe-Cronk said.

On Saturday, the Cronk family held an open house as a part of a green building weekend organized by the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association.

The house is at the forefront of green design.

The tires work as a big thermal mass, collecting heat during the day and releasing it at night.

The tires have been collected for free through a tire dealer, Burnham & Son, Adams, and through Craigslist solicitations. After the tires are placed, the space between them is filled with mud and concrete to create a flat surface.

The surface will be covered on both sides in stucco, making the tires essentially invisible.

The direction and angle of the house prevent overheating during the warmer summer months, and are most effective when the sun is lower in winter.

Other green elements of the house include solar panels and water collection points, and a cooling tube to draw outside air underground before directing it into the house at about 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

Additionally, water will be reused in multiple portions of the home before being sent out, including in a greenhouse section lining the front windows of the home.

The entry to the house also included the placement of about 5,000 recycled wine and whisky bottles and aluminum cans inside a 10-foot-tall concrete wall, and Mr. Cronk said they had about 5,000 more wine bottles to cut.

“That’s a good winter project,” he said.

The Cronks on Saturday brought out their two children, Daphne J., 5, and Maddox M., 3. who played around the house as their parents worked. Ms. Fregoe-Cronk said her children are beginning to understand the concept of living in the house, which they call their castle.

One of the attendees at Saturday’s open house was Marie C. Parham, a New York City resident who said she was interested in building a sustainable home of her own in St. Lawrence County.

She said seeing a project like the Cronks’ made the prospect of such a project for herself “more real.”

“It’s very validating to see other people do that,” Mrs. Parham said.

The Cronks’ Facebook page about the house project is at Video of the project can be seen at

Lorraine Tire House
Commenting rules:
  1. Stick to the topic of the article/letter/editorial.
  2. When responding to issues raised by other commenters, do not engage in personal attacks or name-calling.
  3. Comments that include profanity/obscenities or are libelous in nature will be removed without warning.
Violators' commenting privileges may be revoked indefinitely. By commenting you agree to our full Terms of Use.
Syracuse Football Tickets Giveaway
Connect with Us
WDT News FeedsWDT on FacebookWDT on TwitterWDT on InstagramWDT for iOS: iPad, iPhone, and iPod touchWDT for Android
Showcase of Homes
Showcase of Homes