Policies worldwide recognize that the construction sector needs to take immediate action to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, tackle the climate crisis and limit resource depletion, with a focus on adopting a circular economy approach in construction to ensure the sustainable use of construction materials.
Instead of simply knocking buildings down and sending the CDW to landfill, circular construction would turn building components that are at the end of their service life into resources for others, minimizing waste.
Source: How we can recycle more buildings – Solid Waste & Recycling – Solid Waste & Recycling
Imploding the building was an option but considered too risky to public safety.
“You can’t put a dollar value on health and safety.” Deconstruction was a more conservative option but the company did not want to end up in court if demolition caused problems.
Source: The bulk of the BNZ building in Wellington will be re-cycled and re-used | Stuff.co.nz
“We are already selling pieces from the hotel’s interior on our website. Items for sale include light fixtures fashioned from Venetian glass and French crystal, along with more than 40 marble mantels carved in a variety of styles, including a $40,000 inlaid marble mantel from the US Ambassadors Suite. More affordable items include steak knives ($25), polished bronze swan hook ($45), stainless steel slotted egg spoon ($20), and a steel ice scoop ($10),” added Browne.
Source: Deconstructing the Legendary New York Waldorf Astoria Hotel
Workers from the Evanston Rebuilding Warehouse have already begun the deconstruction process as part of YWCA Evanston/North Shore’s long-term expansion plan. (YWCA Evanston/North Shore)
YWCA is partnering with the Evanston Rebuilding Warehouse because the local non-profit organization employs high quality, sustainable deconstruction practices.
Source: Evanston YWCA Partners with Evanston Rebuilding Warehouse | Evanston, IL Patch
Homes along Laukahi Street with Hawaii Loa Ridge homes in the background, 2015. The City and County of Honolulu could pass a law to require better use of teardowns.
Seeing the pile of rubbish that was once a house made of beautiful clear heart redwood, I could not help thinking about the environmental activists, U.S. National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service staff who have worked for decades in California to save the remaining giant redwoods from logging, while here in Hawaii we are using them for landfill. There was a significant value loss as well since similar redwood boards (8-feet-by-8-feet) would cost at least $50 each if bought locally.
Source: How Not To Waste A House On Oahu – Honolulu Civil Beat
A work crew deconstructs a Southeast Portland home in 2015 (The Oregonian/File)
The majority of council members said Wednesday that they plan to approve the ordinance, and Commissioners Jo Ann Hardesty and Chloe Eudaly said they would like to see a more severe penalty for violators. A first offense can lead to a fine of up to $500 and a third or more can be up to $1,500. “I support everything else, but I think if you’re going to hold people accountable, they’ve got to feel it,” Hardesty said. “This is not something that they’re going to feel.”
Source: Portland may expand which old homes must be dismantled by hand – oregonlive.com
“Number one, it’s an economic driver,” said 15th District Alderman Russell Stamper II. “We’re providing opportunities for individuals to learn skills on how to deconstruct, put some money in their pocket, and most of all have a job right here in the city of Milwaukee.”
Source: City contractor begins first housing deconstruction project
This was the first deconstruction project in the City of Milwaukee since the passage of an ordinance in January, 2018 which hopes to create a new market for repurposed building materials, reduction of waste and job creation for Milwaukee residents.
Source: American Companies completes apartment construction in Milwaukee | By Deb Reinbold
Buildings like the vacant row houses in Baltimore can be demolished, but they can also be deconstructed to salvage the materials. The salvaging process requires much more time and labor than demolition. For Baltimore – a city with an unemployment rate of nearly 5%, climbing up to 15% or more in some neighborhoods, and a poverty rate nearly double the national average – this presents an opportunity.
Source: Lumber Salvaged from Baltimore’s Row Houses and City Trees Creates Jobs and Cuts Wood Waste | TheCityFix
Prasad would like to see architects ‘go for it’ even without the requirements of the London Plan. He said: ‘Circular economy applies to buildings of all scale and all types, and I would love to see it being applied to smaller buildings than the threshold indicates at the moment.’ He said this was not ‘a glum duty’ or ‘dreadful imposition’. ‘It’s a fantastic opportunity to innovate and think in different ways. And the lovely thing is, it can be done on so many fronts. As the name implies, the circular econo
Source: London Plan: New document to help architects embed circular economy principles | News | Architects Journal
The project will see over 1,000 homes demolished and materials reused. Based on an initial assessment of the regeneration project, the scale of benefits that may be realised through comprehensive implementation of Clarion’s circular economy strategy are significant.
Source: PlaceTech | Recycling buildings in the circular economy
The idea works like this: before an abandoned building is torn down, crews salvage all the materials they can get from it – like wood – and keep it out of landfills. At the same time, they give the people who live in those neighborhoods the job of doing that. “It gives you a new sense of your community,” said Baltimore native Kobe Bland, who works at Brick and Board. “You start to view your community a little different because you see the potential of what could be.” What started out as the “Baltimore Wood
Source: Demolished, abandoned buildings repurposed through program helping struggling communities
The most interesting architectural feature of the Rehoboth Public School is its modernist, art deco-style main entrance.
“Because of the salvage value, and the fact the contractor could do the work in the summer when there were few people on site, we were able to get a relatively low demolition cost, so everybody wins,” said Bassett.
Source: Facing demolition, Rehoboth Public School yielding legacy items | Cape Gazette
Contractor Alex Clarke was carefully taking the single-car garage apart by hand, separating various building materials for reuse and recycling, when he pulled off an interior wall to discover hundreds of newspapers and magazines. Nailed in neat stacks between the studs as insulation and protected between cardboard, much of the paper was in surprisingly good condition.
Source: Garage demolition reveals treasure trove of old newspapers | Calgary Herald
The redwood boards they’re recovering from the library are a wide range of shapes and sizes and they’ll use them for a number of student projects, including siding the first ever CR tiny house. They’ll also run it through the Architectural Millworks class to use as molding and trim on next year’s student-built house, which will be constructed in an historic neighborhood in Eureka. Using this old growth redwood will tie the new house in with the aesthetic of the neighborhood and maintain its historic integri
Source: Old Growth Redwood Lumber Salvaged from Original CR Library Building Will Be Used by Students in Part to Build a Tiny Home in Eureka – Redheaded Blackbelt
Poppy Johnston | 17 September 2019
As resources become scarcer, building owners may one day be able to sell walls, ceilings and floors to other developers, instead of demolishing them.
In practise, circular construction is all about the “connections, joints and system layers,” says Guldager Jensen. For example, windows might be attached using a mechanical method rather than glue, or lime mortar might be used rather than concrete mortar.“It’s about being able to think about the mechanics and being able to do it in reversible ways.”
Source: A Danish view on circular construction – The Fifth Estate
Deconstruction of the Mercantile in downtown Missoula prior to construction of the Marriott. (Home ReSource)
From an energy perspective, it saves about 95 percent of the energy that would be required to produce the same materials, and it also has major implications for waste reduction, job creation, and historical preservation. The Home Resource-led deconstruction of the Missoula Mercantile building in 2017 is a great example of deconstruction in our community. It diverted hundreds of thousands of board feet of old-growth lumber away from the landfill and reintroduced it into Missoula’s economy.
Source: Sustainable Missoula: Green building materials can reduce Missoula’s carbon footprint ~ Missoula Current
Ever think about what happens what is going to happen to your building design after 50 years?Well most people don’t, and we would like to change that.With so much existing building demolition happening in Seattle, we will touch on designing for smarter demolition.Join us for the discussion of community and carbon benefits of strategic reuse of deconstructed building materials, and how you can go above and beyond typical demolition recycling practices.
Source: Design for Deconstruction | Living-Future.org
Since 2016, one-fourth of whole houses that were taken down in Palo Alto were deconstructed instead of demolished. This means workers were required to disassemble structures so materials could be recycled. The new policy intends to bring the successes of deconstruction to a city-wide scale. The ordinance will impact approximately 114 projects annually, according to a City Council Staff Report.
Source: Palo Alto’s ‘deconstruction’ ordinance will require reuse, recycling of building materials – The Stanford Daily
Everything from lumber to nails is being recycled from Avon’s Hahnewald barn. The barn is being dismantled to make way for a new wastewater treatment facility.
The wood and other materials will be conveyed to Salvage Design Center, which will sell the reclaimed barn material. Given interest from some community members, the district worked with Salvage Design Center to sell the reclaimed barn materials locally at a 50% discount from their Denver showroom prices.
Source: Lumber from Hahnewald barn in Avon to be sold | VailDaily.com
Ruthie Mundell stands among new and vintage chandeliers—all salvaged and ready to find a new home. (Teresa Carey)
“You have a grassroots momentum for something like deconstruction, and you have a massive industry against it,” says Sara Badiali.
The building material reuse consultant thinks regulations are an effective way to make a change. Yet, she has searched the world and “can’t find any place that actually has the words ‘building deconstruction’ in legislation.”
Badiali worked with the city of Portland, Oregon, to create the nation’s first reuse ordinance. Now, Portland homes built before 1916 must be evaluated for deconstruction. Other cities like San Francisco and Milwaukee are drafting their own ordinances.
Source: How Women Are Leading the Charge to Recycle Whole Houses | Innovation | Smithsonian
Most of that material salvaged from the old Mercantile made their way to Home ReSource. Roughly 200,000 board feet of lumber ended up in new projects across Missoula. MRA required deconstruction as part of the Mercantile project. (Martin Kidston/Missoula Current file photo)
Over the past few years, and with sustainability in mind, MRA has given preference to certain building materials. It also encourages deconstruction over demolition when possible, even if doing so costs a little more.“We’re constrained by state law on how we can spend our funds, but if you take the facade improvement program, one of the underpinnings of that is sustainability,” said MRA director Ellen Buchanan. “Our deconstruction policy is also huge. The city can’t require deconstruction, but we can.”
Source: MRA “plays a role” in city’s push for carbon neutrality, zero waste ~ Missoula Current
Lovett Deconstruction’s Annual Dropbox Derby is taking teams & vendors until July 28th – spaces are limited. Sign up here!
An annual design/build challenge using salvaged materials to raise money for a good cause.
Source: Dropbox Derby — Lovett Deconstruction
“We thank everyone for their hard work. We can breathe a sigh of relief that we no longer have to worry about the rickhouse coming down on its own. Now we can concentrate efforts on our barrel recovery.”
Source: Efforts switch to barrel recovery as rickhouse deconstruction nearly complete – The Owensboro Times
The demolition sorting operation at Zanker Recycling extracts concrete, sheetrock, asphalt and wood, among other debris, for recyclable markets. Photo by Veronica Weber.
The new deconstruction ordinance is expected to help the city divert 7,930 tons of waste annually (by contrast, the disposable-foodware ordinance that the council adopted at the same meeting would divert 290 tons). The deconstruction ordinance is also expected to reduce the city’s greenhouse-gas emissions by 22,300 metric tons annually (for the foodware ordinance, the number is 470 tons).
Source: To reduce waste, Palo Alto takes aim at demolition | News | Palo Alto Online |
“For too long, we have not done a good job at construction sites and we need to do that,” said Phil Bobel, assistant director for Public Works Palo Alto. Bobel authored the ordinance approved by city council last Monday. “You can’t just smash it and combine everything, so then it’s harder to recycle it or salvage it.”
Source: Palo Alto to require construction crews to deconstruct sites, not demolish by 2020 | abc7news.com
Officials with the distillery said on Thursday that they are pleased with the deconstruction of Warehouse H continues with a planned and controlled collapse.
Source: WATCH: O.Z. Tyler shares video of deconstruction efforts
Landfill diversion from offices currently sits at 78% and Google is focusing on construction and deconstruction to contribute to its circular vision. Google has been implementing interior ‘salvage and reuse’ at the interior building scale since 2012. Last year, the company started work with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation to explore the triple bottom line benefits of deconstruction.
Source: Google’s new circular economy strategy to ‘maximise reuse’ across its operations
“We have public policies that encourage people to buy a beverage bottle, consume the product, wash it, take it back to the redemption centre and accept half what what they paid for (in deposit) initially,” he began. “We have no such policy for buildings, which are usually the biggest, largest, most important financial investment of anybody’s lifetime.”
Source: Saint John throwing away ‘millions’ through demolition instead of deconstruction, former heritage planner says – New Brunswick | Globalnews.ca
Gary Ringer. Photo by Stephen Koss.
In 2013, he founded a company called Eco-Environmental Solutions as a grassroots way to address blight in the Detroit area. The company specializes in deconstruction, the process of taking apart old buildings and salvaging parts of them for reuse. In doing this work, Ringer draws on an understanding of structures he’s gleaned from his time as a firefighter as well as prior job experiences building massive homes in the suburbs of southeast Michigan.
Source: Detroit firefighter takes on blight with deconstruction business
A bathroom tile pattern in a Los Angeles home built largely with reclaimed materials was designed to look like a colony of bacteria, based on images obtained from an electron microscope.CreditCreditCris Nolasco Studios
Mr. Pallrand’s master bedroom is paneled in redwood that Pacific Redwood culled from a decommissioned bridge built in 1925 in Humboldt County, its knotholes and bolt-holes still visible. The Philippine mahogany table, now carved with a mycelium-inspired runner down the center, was hewed from 1920s-era church pews that a congregation in Santa Monica, Calif., was dumping.
Source: In a ‘Recycled’ House, Details That Will Grow on You – The New York Times
The Auckland region is in the midst of a major building boom. Whilst this is good news for new homebuyers, it generates a lot of waste that usually ends up being sent to landfill.
The council is working to adopt a deconstruction and soft strip approach as a standard. The deconstruction methodology sees buildings carefully taken down, bit by bit, to recover materials so that they can be re-used elsewhere. This can include building fittings and fixtures, such as seating, light fittings, kitchen and bathroom sinks, as well as important building componentry and materials such as trusses, timber, corrugated iron, and steel.
Source: Council goes circular on construction waste | OurAuckland
Deconstructing history isn’t easy. Turney puts hours of sweat into the process, prying out rusty nails that haven’t budged in more than 50 years.This is the second Quonset hut he’s helped reclaim in the past couple years. The patinaed metal will be a huge hit in his Palmer store.“Some people use it as wainscoting or on the trim of a bar,” he said.
Source: Deconstructing history: Alaska Picker salvages, upcycles WWII-er – KTVA 11 – The Voice of Alaska
The project wants to build a regional economy network around wood and land restoration, with a specific focus on reclaiming wood, lives and neighborhoods in the urban and rural areas.
Source: Can the Wood Project save Baltimore? – Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner
“I don’t think (the fee increase) goes far enough,” he said, adding that “there should be a law that you either move the house or use portions of it to build a new house or disassemble it board by board so it can be used.”
Source: Richmond council pushes for more salvage, including wood waste | Burnaby Now
As an alternative to demolition, you may find a deconstruction company in your area that can take apart buildings and divert up to 90 percent of materials from landfills to reuse. You may also save money by selling or receiving a tax deduction from donating the used building materials. Endeavor to use treatment technologies that are designed to keep waste generation down.
Source: Tips to Reduce Environmental Footprint of Your Cleanup
Re-use Hawaii founder Quinn Vittum talks about the salvaging operation at Kona Village Resort at their yard below the Kaloko Light Industrial Area. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)
One company on Hawaii Island has assumed a more macro view of recycling and in only a year has filled an entire baseyard with salvaged material from demolished structures. Re-use Hawaii is a nonprofit deconstruction business, and the only one of its kind, focused on reducing the single largest landfill waste stream in the state.
Source: Waste not: Company takes environmental approach to deconstruction in West Hawaii – West Hawaii Today
9 Factory St. is due for demolition in mid-June. Photo by Terry Smith.
“We’re focusing on iconic aspects of the Factory Street building, and repurposing materials where it makes sense to capture that building’s character as part of the new construction,” Ken Johnson, D.O., executive dean of the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, said in the release. “We have found some beautiful and creative ways to honor 9 Factory St. in the new facility’s café,” added Johnson, who also serves as OU’s chief medical affairs officer.
Source: New medical school cafe to honor Factory St. building | Campus News | athensnews.com
Rather than demolishing blighted buildings, the city is helping fund nonprofits that take the buildings apart piece by piece—then resell the parts, which still have significant value in construction.
Source: How Baltimore Is Deconstructing Itself—With Local Nonprofit Help: Associations Now
In addition to that, make sure you’re deconstructing your home during a renovation instead of demolishing it. This ensures that some materials in your home can be repurposed instead of being thrown out as waste. You can sell or donate your deconstructed items and help another person make a sustainable choice by upcycling them.
Source: Sustainable Trends In Home Renovation & Design
For example, in the summer of 2012, Williams College (Williamstown, Massachusetts) deconstructed two small wood-frame buildings and, in the process, recycled 92 percent, by weight, of the total material removed from the project site. The Williams small building deconstruction resulted in a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to removing 14 cars from the roads for a full year (66 metric tonnes).
Source: COMMUNITY CONVERSATIONSHousing deconstruction as a climate change strategy – News – Belmont Citizen-Herald – Belmont, MA
Hydraulic shears takes down part of the old ACRA building for the new Aspen city offices on March 6.
Anna Stonehouse/The Aspen Times
“We had a goal of 65 percent for diversion and we are at 74 percent,” said Brain Thomas, the project manager for Shaw Construction. “We are happy with Aspen Deconstruction. They knocked it out of the park.”
Source: Construction debris to make way for Aspen government office mostly avoids landfill | AspenTimes.com
“The reuse industry needs to continue building more circular economy partnerships to repurpose reclaimed materials on a larger scale, “ Goodman says.
Source: The salvageable lifecycle – Living Building Chronicle
UNBUILDERS — Adam Corneil, who operates Unbuilders, says he aims to collaborate, rather than compete, with traditional demolition contractors, letting them take down a building to the wood frame.
“Tens of millions of dollars of lumber are purchased every day in this country,” he explains. “The fact we’re just shredding it (old wood structures) up and burning it is completely irrational in my mind.”
Source: Unbuilders Deconstruction takes a new approach to demolition – constructconnect.com
Stacked flooring that was taken out of the former Case buildings in the Water Street Redevelopment Area deconstruction. An Appleton company, Urban Evolutions, bought all of the wood and timbers from the project area. Photographed in January 2019.
The first project, Janson said, was pulling out all of the maple flooring. They were able to save close to 200,000 board feet of flooring and about 400,000 board feet of decking, or subfloor, from the buildings. (A board foot is 1 by 12 by 12 inches, or 144 cubic inches.)
Source: Case deconstruction is lumber mother lode | Money | journaltimes.com
MinnPost file photo by Bill Kelley
Burying construction debris can dredge up naturally-occurring chemicals in the soil like arsenic and manganese that leach into groundwater after precipitation.
In order to catch up with demolition, Adams said he wants people who don’t deconstruct buildings to pay what he calls the “social costs” of carbon emissions to cities, which is the price of mitigating climate change. Reuse and recycle of construction waste cuts down on emissions in part because of the energy it takes to create new building materials. Adams pegged that carbon cost at roughly $9,000 for a typical house. He said cities should use that money to offer grants to homeowners who can’t pay for decon
Source: The problem, and politics, of throwing old houses in the garbage | MinnPost
For reclaimed wood customers like Sween, the two remaining Globe Elevator structures — undamaged by the fire — might serve as a source for wood.
Source: For Globe Elevator owner, December fire was ‘devastating’ | Duluth News Tribune
I was reading about the scale of the abandoned housing problem – that there are 40-60,000 abandoned, vacant, or blighted houses in Philadelphia. The idea was to create an organization that could take on the abandoned housing blight block by block, neighborhood by neighborhood.
Source: Q&A with Greg Trainor of the Philadelphia Community Corps – Shareable