Category Archives: Policy/Regulations/Government

Logging is not the solution to wildfires or climate change | TheHill

Logging is not the solution to wildfires or climate change

Getty Images

Logging makes fires worse, not better. One of the most fateful management choices Congress and our federal forest agencies made in the past was to allow logging corporations free reign on public lands to take the biggest, oldest, most fire-resistant trees with them and leave behind flammable piles of slash, dense plantations of young trees and networks of logging roads that would stretch from here to the moon and halfway back. With these roads come more human-sparked fires from logging equipment, irresponsible  campers, gunfire and fireworks. Ninety percent of wildland fires are human caused and this labyrinth of logging roads provides the conduit.

Source: Logging is not the solution to wildfires or climate change | TheHill

A ‘deconstruction industry’ can help cut infrastructure sector emissions

“Once materials – raw materials – leave the biosphere and enter the technosphere because they are processed, we need to keep them in the technosphere and recycle or reuse them as much as possible,” Pralle said. “For that we need to create a deconstruction industry as powerful and elaborate as the mining industry.” Pralle said the success of a deconstruction industry

Source: A ‘deconstruction industry’ can help cut infrastructure sector emissions

Vancouver company leads the way in innovative home deconstruction | CTV News

Unbuilders

A house on Vancouver’s West Side being dismantled by the group Unbuilders is seen on Sept. 30, 2020.

“What you’re going to see over the next five years is a rollout of deconstruction policy across the board,” said Corniel. “So, we’re the first of our kind in Canada, doing what we do, but this will be the typical way that houses are taken down and taken apart in the future.”

Source: Vancouver company leads the way in innovative home deconstruction | CTV News

Erster Re-Use Store in Berliner Kaufhaus eröffnet – Berlin.de

B-Wa (h) renhaus

Image: SenUVK

The B-Wa (h) renhaus with its shop-in-shop range of used goods is also a unique project nationwide. It is an important step on the way to ‘department stores of the future’, which offer attractive shopping opportunities for used goods. As part of the Re-Use initiative, three to four “used department stores of the future” are to be built in Berlin in the medium term.

Source: Erster Re-Use Store in Berliner Kaufhaus eröffnet – Berlin.de

To Cut Waste, Berlin Opens Its Own Secondhand Shop – Bloomberg

Photographer: Stefan Sauer/picture alliance via Getty Images

Berlin hopes to use the stores to “anchor the re-use of used goods in urban society” by functioning as centers to educate and spread tips on re-use — especially to sections of the public that aren’t currently much involved in the circular economy. The initiative is part of a broader plan from Berlin’s ruling center-left/Green/left coalition that looks to slash waste in all areas of the city’s economy.

Source: To Cut Waste, Berlin Opens Its Own Secondhand Shop – Bloomberg

Change planning laws to reduce waste and refurbish old buildings, engineers say – About Manchester

The government needs to go further with its circular economy plans if the UK is to reduce its waste and make a green recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, according to engineers from the University of Sheffield.

Adding circular economy principles to the planning process would put greater emphasis on retrofitting buildings, designing for adaptability, deconstruction and reuse of materials at end of life. It would both reduce waste, and help to reduce the UK’s demand for new materials.

Source: Change planning laws to reduce waste and refurbish old buildings, engineers say – About Manchester

Minnesota county offers grants promoting deconstruction over demolition for older homes and apartments – Waste Today

Minnesota county offers grants promoting deconstruction over demolition for older homes and apartments

To be eligible, the structure must be a home or apartment with up to four units built before 1950 and with a renovation area of at least 250 square feet. Moreover, six material types need to be removed to be reused and at least 550 pounds of wood must be salvaged from the project. All non-reusable building materials must be sent to a county-approved C&D recycler.

Source: Minnesota county offers grants promoting deconstruction over demolition for older homes and apartments – Waste Today

Amsterdam is now using the “doughnut” model of economics

Image: courtesy Doughnut Economics Action Lab

According to the model, no one should fall into the hole in the center of the doughnut, which would mean they don’t have enough to afford basic needs. The outer ring of the doughnut represents the ecological limits of the planet, from biodiversity loss and air pollution to climate breakdown.

Source: Amsterdam is now using the “doughnut” model of economics

City must reuse old bricks to build Butler Street head house: EPA • Brooklyn Paper

The city needs to use original brick to reconstruct the corner of 234 Butler St. Photo by Meg Capone

Federal and state officials have upheld an agreement with the city to reuse tens of thousands of original bricks to restore the facade of the historic Gowanus Station site when construction crews tear down the building for a new water-filtration facility, according to an April 21 letter.

Source: City must reuse old bricks to build Butler Street head house: EPA • Brooklyn Paper

Broaden the scope of of contractor education | Columnists | missoulian.com

A 2017 UN Environment report estimated the building sector contributes 49 percent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions thus making it the single largest contributor to climate change. Globally, building operations account for 28 percent of GHG emissions and the embodied carbon of building materials–the emissions generated in the production, transport, and assembly of materials such as wood, concrete, and steel–accounts for another 11 percent.

Source: Broaden the scope of of contractor education | Columnists | missoulian.com

Amid forestry struggles, panel finds ‘surprising’ consensus on old-growth logging concerns in B.C. | The Narwhal

Nahmint-Valley-Aerial-9th-widest-fir

“We’re seeing these forests disappear overnight. It’s happening so fast, and there’s very little old growth left in this part of B.C. It’s an environmental crisis that’s no less tragic than the loss of coral reefs and tropical rainforests.”

Source: Amid forestry struggles, panel finds ‘surprising’ consensus on old-growth logging concerns in B.C. | The Narwhal

World’s consumption of materials hits record 100bn tonnes a year | Environment | The Guardian

Half of the 100.6bn tonnes of materials were sand, clay, gravel and cement for building, plus minerals quarried for fertiliser. Photograph: Zoonar GmbH/Alamy

The lion’s share of the materials – 40% – is turned into housing.

Source: World’s consumption of materials hits record 100bn tonnes a year | Environment | The Guardian

Demolishing rectory in Owen Sound bad for conservation, environment: ACO | Owen Sound Sun Times

The historic St. Mary’s Catholic Church rectory in Owen Sound. The empire-style building was constructed in 1872. A wraparound porch was added in 1917 and was enclosed, as it appears today, in 1965. Denis Langlois

“Not only would we be destroying building materials superior in quality to what we can easily obtain today, we would be burning fossil fuels to transport these wasted materials to the landfill,” Elgie said. “Replacing these building materials extracts a huge toll on our natural environment – the fossil fuels burned, the greenhouse gases emitted, the air and water pollutants generated when new iron ore is mined, new steel smelted, new girders manufactured and transported to warehouses and ultimately Owen Sound – to mention just a few of the greenhouse gas-emitting steps in the construction process.”

Source: Demolishing rectory in Owen Sound bad for conservation, environment: ACO | Owen Sound Sun Times

Portland Has Broken Its Promise to Keep Neighborhoods Safe From Demolition Contaminants – Willamette Week

Green, the deputy ombudsman, points to a $4 million project in the Overlook neighborhood. The contractor failed to remove the siding before demolition took place. The penalty? Just $876 in administrative fees due to the stop-work order. (BDS does not issue fines for first-time violations.)”Why follow the rules if the fine totals $876 and you’ve saved $5,000 on removing the siding by hand?” Green asks. “Human nature is not on the side of doing right.”

Source: Portland Has Broken Its Promise to Keep Neighborhoods Safe From Demolition Contaminants – Willamette Week

How Not To Waste A House On Oahu – Honolulu Civil Beat

Foreground, Homes along Laukahi Street with Hawaii Loa Ridge homes background. 8 june 2015. photograph Cory Lum/Civil Beat

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

Portland may expand which old homes must be dismantled by hand – oregonlive.com

Portland home deconstruction

The Oregonian/OregonLive

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

City contractor begins first housing deconstruction project

“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

Application Period Open Now For DNR’s 2020 Derelict Building Grant Program

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is now accepting applications for the 2020 Derelict Building Grant Program. The program promotes the reuse or recycling of building materials from dilapidated buildings in communities of 5,000 residents or less.

Source: Application Period Open Now For DNR’s 2020 Derelict Building Grant Program

King County, Washington – $700,000 C&D Grant Program 

The Solid Waste Division (SWD) strives to enhance the efficacy of Construction & Demolition (C&D) recycling. SWD is offering a new $700,000 C&D Grant Program for innovative projects that support King County’s Comprehensive Solid Waste Management Plan (Comp Plan). As established in the King County Strategic Climate Action Plan (SCAP), King County aims to divert C&D materials from landfills at a rate of 85 percent by 2025, and also has a countywide goal of zero waste of resources by 2030.

The specific solicitation for the C&D Grant Program can be accessed here – https://procurement.kingcounty.gov/procurement_OVR/detail.aspx?bidid=4231 (click “Enter as Guest”).

Source: C&D grant program – King County

Environmentalists launch a ‘game-changer’ to tackle mountains of building and demolition waste | Stuff.co.nz

New Zealand Ecolabelling Trust general manager, Francesca Lipscombe, says the new ecolabel could be a game changer for the construction industry. She is pictured at the Waitakere Refuse and Recycling Centre with  Auckland Council manager of waste solutions Parul Sood.

New Zealand Ecolabelling Trust general manager, Francesca Lipscombe, says the new ecolabel could be a game changer for the construction industry. She is pictured at the Waitakere Refuse and Recycling Centre with Auckland Council manager of waste solutions Parul Sood.

The Environmental Choice label would differentiate C&D service providers from each other by their environmental impact and mark those who were top providers and demonstrated best practice around waste minimisation and reduction.

Source: Environmentalists launch a ‘game-changer’ to tackle mountains of building and demolition waste | Stuff.co.nz

Palo Alto’s ‘deconstruction’ ordinance will require reuse, recycling of building materials – The Stanford Daily

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

How Women Are Leading the Charge to Recycle Whole Houses | Innovation | Smithsonian

Ruthie Mundell-Community Forklift.jpg

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

MRA “plays a role” in city’s push for carbon neutrality, zero waste ~ Missoula Current

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

To reduce waste, Palo Alto takes aim at demolition | News | Palo Alto Online |

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 |

Palo Alto to require construction crews to deconstruct sites, not demolish by 2020 | abc7news.com

“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

Council goes circular on construction waste | OurAuckland

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

Richmond council pushes for more salvage, including wood waste | Burnaby Now

Demolition

“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

NYC closes the loop on gypsum wallboard – Construction & Demolition Recycling

NYC closes the loop on gypsum wallboard

NYC’s VIA 57 West building was one of the first pilot projects to recycle all new construction gypsum trim scrap.

Beyond the environmental impacts, “We’re throwing away valuable resources when we’re not recycling this material,” Kaminsky says. “In landfills, when materials are layered on top of other materials in humid, anaerobic conditions, we can see hydrogen sulfide generation. Gypsum is a major contributor to hydrogen sulfide gas, which is associated with the ‘rotten egg’ smell people are familiar with.”

Source: NYC closes the loop on gypsum wallboard – Construction & Demolition Recycling

Deconstruction vs. Demolition: An evaluation of carbon and energy impacts from deconstructed homes in the City of Portland Submitted to: City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) By: Andey Nunes, Jordan Palmeri and Simon Love

In October 2016, in an effort to reduce waste, support material reuse, and reduce environmental impacts of demolition, the City of Portland, Oregon, enacted an ordinance requiring manual  deconstruction of residential homes built in 1916 or earlier. This study analyzes the material quantity data from the first 36 deconstruction projects in Portland to measure carbon and energy impacts. The carbon and energy impacts were also calculated for a hypothetical scenario in which the same houses were mechanically demolished.

The goal of this project is to calculate the carbon and energy impacts of deconstruction and demolition of
single-family houses in Portland, Oregon. The results will allow the City of Portland to measure the effectiveness of their deconstruction policy in achieving climate and energy goals.

https://www.oregon.gov/deq/FilterDocs/DeconstructionReport.pdf

https://www.oregon.gov/deq/mm/production/Pages/Deconstruction.aspx

Developer Nat Hyman sues state to stop Allentown State Hospital demolition – The Morning Call

Developer Nat Hyman sues state to stop Allentown State Hospital demolition

Nat Hyman, Allentown developer and former mayoral candidate, sued the state Department of General Services in an attempt to prevent it from demolishing the Allentown State Hospital. (Kevin Mingora / The Morning Call)

Preservationists point to historic value, architectural beauty and potential repurposing in their effort to save the property from demolition. More than 5,000 people have signed an online petition to preserve the buildings.

Source: Developer Nat Hyman sues state to stop Allentown State Hospital demolition – The Morning Call

Morristown hopes to slow tear-downs with anti-demolition ordinance | Morristown Green

The scheduled demolition of this home in Morristown's Historic District has spurred an anti-demolition ordinance. Photo by Kevin Coughlin April 25, 2019

The scheduled demolition of this carriage house in Morristown’s Historic District has spurred an anti-demolition ordinance. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Residents and town officials were alarmed in February by a pair of knockdowns of historic mansions in Montclair, where a Turkish billionaire aimed to erect a mega-mansion to rival Mar-A-Lago.

Source: Morristown hopes to slow tear-downs with anti-demolition ordinance | Morristown Green

COMMUNITY CONVERSATIONS – Housing deconstruction as a climate change strategy  Belmont Citizen-Herald – Belmont, MA

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

Another reason to avoid concrete: silica dust | TreeHugger

concrete demolition

Public Domain Concrete demolition via PXhere

Workers performing concrete chipping at substructure bridge repair sites had the highest level of respirable crystalline silica exposure, a time-weighted average of 527 micrograms per cubic meter of air. That is more than 10 times the PEL of 50 micrograms per cubic meter that OSHA established in its most recent silica regulation (1926.1153).

Source: Another reason to avoid concrete: silica dust | TreeHugger

Officials: St. Louis demolitions could reverse lead progress – Herald-Whig –

The city’s economic development agency, St. Louis Development Corp., is testing an alternative process this year that deconstructs buildings piece by piece. The more expensive process is used to salvage materials as well as reduce health risks from dust and debris. City officials said it isn’t financially feasible to use “deconstruction” to remove all of St. Louis’ 12,000 vacant properties, but they hope to expand the 30-building pilot project in the future.

Source: Officials: St. Louis demolitions could reverse lead progress – Herald-Whig –

Backlog leads Milwaukee to suspend deconstruction rule for old houses

Duplexes at 2075 N. Cambridge Ave. were set for deconstruction last summer.

Duplexes at 2075 N. Cambridge Ave. were set for deconstruction last summer. (Photo: Stephanie Morse/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

Of nearly 500 city-owned houses slated for demolition, only five were deconstructed in 2018, according to the Department of Neighborhood Services. The department struggled to get reasonable bids from contractors, said Tom Mishefske, neighborhood services commissioner.

Source: Backlog leads Milwaukee to suspend deconstruction rule for old houses

Milwaukee officials considering pausing deconstruction policy until 2020 – The Daily Reporter – WI Construction News & Bids

Milwaukee could pause its enforcement of a mandate requiring contractors to deconstruct, rather than demolish, historic homes after a assessment of the policy found that it struggled to get off the ground in 2018.

Source: Milwaukee officials considering pausing deconstruction policy until 2020 – The Daily Reporter – WI Construction News & Bids

How saving Philly’s historic sacred spaces can make the city stronger | Opinion

CHRIS KENDIG

Enter “Infill Philadelphia: Sacred Places/Civic Spaces,” the exciting new partnership between Partners for Sacred Places and the Community Design Collaborative. Its purpose is to generate innovative design concepts and solutions for the re-activation of underutilized spaces in local historic sacred places.

Source: How saving Philly’s historic sacred spaces can make the city stronger | Opinion

2018-2019 Investment and Innovation Grants | Metro

Here is a summary of the Fiscal Year 2019 Investment and Innovation (I&I) grants. The 14 grants represent a total Metro investment of $2,453,247, which will leverage an additional $2,383,065 in matching funds provided by the applicants. Investment and Innovation grants are intended to build lasting, private sector capacity to reduce waste through reuse, recycling, composting or energy creation from discarded materials in the Metro region. They seek to both strengthen local efforts to reduce the amount and

Source: 2018-2019 Investment and Innovation Grants | Metro

The richer the neighbourhood, the more homes are empty, Vancouver tax report finds | Georgia Straight Vancouver’s News & Entertainment Weekly

CITY OF VANCOUVER

“The Empty Homes Tax (also known as the Vacancy Tax) was developed to help relieve pressure on Vancouver’s rental housing market, by returning empty or under-utilized properties to the long-term rental market,” the release reads. “Revenue generated by the tax is required to be used for affordable housing initiatives in Vancouver.”

Source: The richer the neighbourhood, the more homes are empty, Vancouver tax report finds | Georgia Straight Vancouver’s News & Entertainment Weekly

Recycled construction waste: building a more sustainable future

Photo credits: Jenny Marvin

To add momentum to this process, in 2016 the European Commission published a CDW Management Protocol, whose goal is to improve waste identification, source separation and collection, and waste processing. From the industry perspective, it is essential to make sure that there are no hazardous substances in material recovered from a demolition site – such as asbestos, leaded paint and polychlorinated biphenyls – that may affect health, environmental or building quality standards.

Source: Recycled construction waste: building a more sustainable future

Instead of Razing Buildings, Some Cities Want to Reuse Their Bones | The Pew Charitable Trusts

Debris remains where a demolished rowhouse once stood on one of many blocks slated for demolition in Baltimore. When possible, city officials want to dismantle and salvage materials from buildings rather than demolishing them.
Patrick Semansky/The Associated Press

The two Baltimore enterprises address multiple problems at once. Details Deconstruction takes apart blighted buildings and salvages or recycles materials that are still valuable — a process called deconstruction. Brick and Board processes and sells reclaimed materials, saving them from the landfill. And both hire people with criminal records and prepare them for jobs in the construction industry.

Source: Instead of Razing Buildings, Some Cities Want to Reuse Their Bones | The Pew Charitable Trusts

In My Opinion: Time to think beyond recycling – Resource Recycling News

Support the reuse industry. This area needs considerable help, and it’s where state leadership is crucial. One state leading the pack is Minnesota. Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has shown its support for the industry in many ways, but here are a few of their initiatives that can be replicated by your state: Hold a statewide summit for industry stakeholders; support the launch of a statewide reuse support network (ReuseMN); offer a free, online materials exchange (MN Materials Exchange); conduct a study

Source: In My Opinion: Time to think beyond recycling – Resource Recycling News

First Buildings Deconstructed Under New Law » Urban Milwaukee

2075 N. Cambridge Ave. Photo by Dave Reid.

2075 N. Cambridge Ave. Photo by Dave Reid.

There are a number of city-owned properties that have to be demolished. And using the requirements of its residents preference program, firms going after the deconstruction contracts will have to meet workforce goals and train unemployed or underemployed city residents in this new trade.

Source: First Buildings Deconstructed Under New Law » Urban Milwaukee