Sustainability isn’t the cornerstone of Brent Gentling’s business model, but that doesn’t mean he lacks appreciation for the “reduce, reuse, recycle” mantra.
The owner of BYOT (Bring Your Own Tools)—a YouTube channel centered around do-it-yourself home remodeling projects—has always understood the importance of adhering to sustainable building practices.
While he often uses green building concepts in his online demonstrations, Gentling has found that it’s even easier to introduce these techniques now that they have become so popular in the industry.
“With everything I build, I try to account for sustainability,” said Gentling, a 2008 CWU construction management graduate who launched BYOT in 2016. “I’m not LEED-certified, but that’s not my goal for this business. I just love the restoration process, and that’s become a key aspect in everything I do.”
Gentling’s primary objective with the BYOT channel is to show other remodelers how to complete a wide variety of home-improvement projects, from making a bed frame or dining room table to building a deck or installing new floors.
One reason his videos have gained such a following—averaging one million views per month over the past year—is that he walks his viewers through every step of the building process, including voiceovers and common-sense explanations about his methods.
“My passion is helping other DIYers be creative with their own projects,” said Gentling, 37, who lives with his wife and daughter in Shoreline. “I spend a lot of time trying to make the process as easy as possible. I tell people why I’m doing certain things, and how I’m doing them. That’s what has helped differentiate my channel from many others that are out there.”
Another passion for Gentling, in business and in life, is figuring out how to add value to old or discarded materials. He often shops for used lumber at places like Second Use Building Materials and Ballard Reuse, and he’s always keeping his eyes peeled for a stray piece of driftwood or an antique typewriter that can be repurposed.
Some of his recent hobby projects include a floating shelf he designed out of beach wood, a rebuilt 1930s-era Remington typewriter, and a walnut table that features piano keys encased in epoxy. He even installed a synthetic lawn at his home north of Seattle, allowing his family to save hundreds of gallons of water every summer.
“Sustainability just happens naturally for me because of what I’m interested in and what surrounds me in life,” Gentling said. “I think it’s fun to revive old things, and I believe we should all be doing more of this.”
One of his recent BYOT projects involved building a shed and a deck out of recycled plastic products. He said the primary benefit of those structures is that they could last generations, compared with a wood deck that might last 50 years, if you’re lucky.
“I’m always thinking of ways that I can produce less construction waste—and just waste in general—so, I try to use whatever materials are available,” he said. “I like that I can help promote sustainable building practices with my business, but that’s not my only goal. For me, it’s all about bringing old things back to life.”
Learn more about Gentling’s growing business at BYOTools.me, or on YouTube at BYOT.