Architecture that was at its prime in the 1970s has slowly fallen into decline and often ruin thanks to decades of neglect, especially in America’s poorest and most racially segregated communities, including Gary, Detroit, Camden and Harlem.
At the same time, roughly one billion square feet of buildings are demolished and replaced every year in the United States. According to an analysis by the Brookings Institution, the country is in the midst of demolishing and replacing 82 billion square feet of existing space — nearly a quarter of the existing building stock — by 2030.
That is an astonishing amount of waste. In fact, the energy used to demolish and rebuild that much space could power the entire state of California for a decade! According to a formula produced for the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, about 80 billion British thermal units (Btus) of energy are embodied in a typical 50,000-square-foot commercial building.
The Corkman Irish pub in Carlton, which was demolished illegally. Photo: Eddie Jim
The developers have been slammed for destroying the 159-year-old pub, formerly known as the Carlton Inn, and are now under investigation from the Victorian Building Authority, the City of Melbourne, the EPA, WorkCover and Heritage Victoria.
The UK Green Building Council significantly cut landfill waste by refurbishing its head office with 98% of the original fixtures reused or repurposed. Photograph: UKGBC
Such measures could bring about a similar shift in mentality within the industry as has been witnessed in relation to health and safety, he argues: “Time is a real pressure when it comes to taking materials down to reuse them, but it’s interesting that time is never an issue for health and safety these days.”
PHOTO COURTESY OF CHRIS TRAUGOTT COULTER An image of the aftermath of the fire at the German Fire Insurance Company, 115 N. Jefferson, which was destroyed on February, 28, 1915. The image is one of many found in the attic of 807 Spring Street.
The negatives, along with doors, door hardware, stair parts, and a fireplace mantel were hauled back to the Whiskey City Architectural Salvage shop where they were priced and put on display.
Soon after Chris Traugott Coulter visited the shop. He was very excited when he saw the negatives. “I was ecstatic,” he said recently while sitting at his computer in the Peoria Historical Society’s offices. “You don’t normally find that many glass plates. You usually find only two or three.”
Adam Watson of Roy-Mar Demolition uses an excavator to remove part of the Branningha Grove property on Owen Sound’s east side on Monday. The demolition of the property is expected to last until the end of next week. (Rob Gowan The Sun Times)
The move to demolish the building has been a contentious one at times with some in the community calling on the building to be saved and designated under the Ontario Heritage Act due to historical and cultural significance. Built in 1881 by Walter and Mary Holmes, the High Victorian-style home was modelled after the original owners’ house in England.
Muchea Land Fill foreman Troy Owen is concerned recycled material, which will potentially go into buildings, may contain asbestos. Picture: Justin Benson-Cooper
“(Demolition rubble) can’t be 100 per cent asbestos free,” Mr Scott said. “If you demolish a building it doesn’t matter how careful you are, you are going to get asbestos.” “We have machines with throughput volumes of 5000 tonnes an hour. When you look at the volumes we play with, that’s a lot of asbestos we can put out,” he added.
“In many cases, the net value of recycling waste materials is more than the value of the energy generated from them,” he said. “Also, reducing the need for virgin materials is the most important, from a perspective of environmental protection. Based on this logic, among the practices in circular economy, reuse is usually the best solution. Recycling and composting are the second best options. If reuse, recycling, and composting are not feasible or don’t make economic and environmental sense, waste to energy should be a good solution.”
Building Research Establishment Trust is working on several research projects focused on mitigation and resilience to climate change
Another research project last year also looked at the impacts of deconstruction – or, essentially, demolishing buildings – on the circular economy, as “effectively dealing with buildings at the end of their life has the potential to unlock significant economic value”, according to the Trust. Construction and the built environment is the single biggest user of materials and generator of waste in the UK economy, but the value that can be extracted from deconstruction is very much dependent on how buildings have been designed and built.
Henderson said getting people to recycle more isn’t the issue. About three-quarters of all waste from construction and demolition are already being recycled. Rather, it’s the capacity limitations of the region’s 12 recycling facilities that’s now emerging as a concern.
Harvest Power CEO Christian Kasper says his New Westminster construction and demolition waste facility is operating at capacity. (Jared Thomas/CBC)
Waste from construction and demolition sites are piling up so quickly that recycling facilities say they’re having a tough time keeping up with demand.
“This [New Westminster] facility receives about 500 tones per day, that’s our maximum permitted capacity and that is what we are taking in right now.”
© studio bauhaus, ryuji inoue via designboom
It is all very odd. You wouldn’t build a kindergarten out of old shipping containers, since they are covered in the most toxic of paints designed to last years on the ocean. You wouldn’t take new shipping containers because any argument about environmental responsibility is out the window; there is far more steel in them than is actually needed.
The interactive, regularly updated map plots more than 9,500 demolitions since 2014 as blue dots, and about 700 scheduled jobs as orange dots. Click on them to reveal details like the date of leveling, the price of demolition, and the contractor that performed it.
Introduced more than30 years ago, window film today is engineered using advanced technology to deliver energy savings similar to low-e windows, yet at a fraction of what replacement windows cost. Just like new windows and doors, window film is rated by the NFRC (National Fenestration Rating Council), so homeowners and property managers can be sure of the benefits. For single-family homes, window film installation costs can range from $4 to $11 per square foot, depending on the location and type of window film installed, and the process can be completed in one or two days, without a major disruption in use of the rooms where the windows are located.
Image credit: Till Krech/Wikimedia Commons
The WEF claims that less than a third of all construction and demolition waste is recovered and reused, resulting in billions of tonnes of materials being wasted. In the United States, about 40 percent of solid waste derives from construction and demolition.“Such waste involves a significant loss of valuable minerals, metals and organic materials,” wrote the WEF’s Keith Beene. “With such quantities involved, even small improvements in the way the construction industry works will have significant impacts on sustainability.”
Architecture professor Susan Herringer says Vancouver’s dwindling Modernist stock of houses is considered exemplary of the style. (Evan Ho / Remax)
Ms. Oberlander, who is 94 years old and still working on major projects, says he spent $300,000 or more on painstaking upgrades that were sensitive to the Lassere design, including geothermal heat and high-end appliances in the kitchen that were customized with a colour to fit with the Modernist era. Dr. Friedman had tried to have the house preserved with a heritage designation, but it is in the University Endowment Lands jurisdiction, which is governed by the province. He was told a designation wasn’t available.
Cornelia Hahn Oberlander, 92, in New York. (Eric Thayer / For the Globe and Mail)
Meanwhile, the listing agent has received several offers on the house, which he’ll present April 27 to the board members. Vancouver will lose another piece of its history.
For Ms. Oberlander, her community is being dismantled. She shakes her head.
“It makes me feel sick.”
The seaside hotel in Torquay that inspired John Cleese to create the beloved British sitcom Fawlty Towers is being demolished to make way for retirement homes.
The Building Materials Reuse Association (BMRA) is excited to announce that Jonathan Orpin of the Timber Framers Guild will be featured as the keynote speaker for the Decon ’16 conference on February 29th, 2016 in Raleigh, North Carolina. Decon ’16 is the premier national conference for professionals in the building material deconstruction and reuse industries, and this forward-looking address will seed the future of a world without waste.
Source: “Everything is Possible: Stories of De-Constructable Buildings, Recycled Wood and Companies that can Thrive Doing So” at Decon ’16, Feb 29-March 4, 2016 in Raleigh, NC | Press Releases | ourmidland.com
Rob Walker recently ceased his tumbler Unconsumption. Unconsumption was an amazing resource for reuse inspiration. Rob cataloged hundreds of artists and designs. Check out the archives. Thank you Rob, we will miss you!
I dreamed up the word “unconsumption” back in 2007, for a New York Times Magazine column, and later pursued and refined the idea in various ways, most notably in this group Tumblr – which grew way beyond what I imagined was possible. It’s been an amazing run, and an honor to work with a series of fantastic and inspiring collaborators along the way.
The embodied energy of the existing building, a term expressing the cost of resources in both human labour and materials consumed during the building’s construction and use, is squandered when the building is allowed to decay or be demolished.
“It was just a natural thought process for us,” said Saad. “While this is a great repurpose of this furniture, it would give it a second life, and really give some people a fresh start with their new lives in Canada.”
The Historic Bell Tavern Building Michael Bupp – The Sentinal
“Whether intentional or by error in 1995, the Bell Tavern was not listed as an historic, protected building on the Township’s Cultural Features Map and Historic Buildings List referred to in our zoning ordinance. Based on that, the Township had to lift the stop-work order. Despite the lifting of the order, the developer has continued to suspend demolition, affording us the opportunity to engage in discussions about the preservation of the building.”
DECON ’16 Update
Time is drawing closer to the DECON ’16 conference and expo in Raleigh, North Carolina, February 29 – March 3. If you have not yet registered, make your plans and get started here. There will be speakers providing the latest research and hottest topics in building deconstruction, salvage and building materials reuse. This is an opportunity to network with others in this field that only comes every couple of years, so we urge you to take advantage of it. Register now!
The conference program is coming together, accepted speakers are being posted on a rolling basis.
An exciting class is planned for the days just after the main conference. Added Value: A Hands-on Guide to Setting up your Reclaimed Wood Shop. The BMRA has partnered with the Department of Forest Biomaterials at North Carolina State University to develop the ideal course to get your reclaimed woodshop up and running. This 1.5 day course will run on Thursday March 2nd (9-5) and Friday March 3rd (9-3), with plenty of time on Friday evening to catch your flight home.
After interning with the RA in the summer of 2014, Michaela Harms continued her studies in Civil Engineering on exchange in Lefkosia, Cyprus at Frederick University. Her focus in the program was on structural design and renewable energies, both vital aspects of sustainable construction innovations. Now in her final year of studies, she has returned to Helsinki to work and complete her thesis on estimating decentralized renewable energy potentiality with Bionova, a Helsinki-based sustainability consulting company and LCA innovator.
Upon completing her BSc, Michaela plans to return stateside. She hopes to gain further expertise in research and design through work with an innovative sustainable building or renewable energy company. Her heart still lies in grass roots sustainable solutions. She hopes to continue to her Masters in 2017 at the Iceland School of Energy.
Interested in interning for a cutting edge social media site dedicated to reducing waste with building material reuse and architectural salvage? Join the Reclamation Administration – we give good internships!
If you chose to recycle it, fish will love your Christmas tree. An initiative by Kentucky’s Division of Fish and Wildlife Resources says that your tree can live its third life as habitat for fish.
Various West Virginia agencies have planned to give a new life to Christmas trees once the annual festival is over. These agencies will collect trees to use them as fish habitat in river and lakes.
Demolition of a heritage home at 3330 West King Edward, Vancouver. (Caroline Adderson)
Heritage activist and antiques expert Robert McNutt was driving by when he saw it, so he pulled over to watch. He got chatting with a young woman with a stroller who was startled to see the house being smashed to smithereens. She was under the common misconception that the old character houses were being carefully dismantled, the old lumber and fixtures salvaged and repurposed.
“I told her, ‘No, this poor house will become wood pellets, and possibly turned into toilet paper or some other paper product,’” Mr. McNutt says. “That’s the way they do it now.”
DECON ’16 Update
Registration is open for the premier national/international conference on building deconstruction, salvage, and building materials reuse will be held in Raleigh, North Carolina February 29 to March 3,2016. Industry professionals, policymakers and researchers will gather at the Hilton Doubletree Brownstone hotel in Raleigh for presentations, interactive discussions and networking. Whether you are new to the issue of building materials reuse or a long-time pioneer in the field, this is a great opportunity to meet colleagues and learn about the state of the art.
The conference program is coming together, accepted speakers are being posted on a rolling basis.
Exciting new classes are being planned for the days just after the main conference. The first is Added Value: A Hands-on Guide to Setting up your Reclaimed Wood Shop. Full details available here.
Planning for DECON ’16 includes efforts by working groups on a few topic areas of special interest. Participation is invited on these working groups, if you have energy and time to commit to the meetings and tasks.
1. The Appraisal Working Group will have its third meeting on Thursday December 17th at 1pm EST/ 12pm CST / 10am PST. Interested parties should contact the head of that group, Tom Napier firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. The Market Survey Working group will have its third meeting on Wednesday January 6th at 1pm EST/ 12 pm CST / 10 am PST, Interested parties should contact Anne Nicklin, email@example.com
One of the benefits of starting the Reclamation Administration is that I get to see how reuse centers optimize partnerships within the community. Like churches or pubs, reuse centers can be a pivotal gathering place. If done well, the physical detritus of the community flows through a reuse center. Neighbors stop and talk with each other over finds and projects, suggestions are made and advice is given. I’ve seen reuse centers inspire creativity that transcend individual projects and develop into community initiatives. Material with history motivates people to collaborate and build both projects and relationships.
We need to measure the size and impact of the Building Materials Reuse Industry in an organized way.
The editorial this month was going to be on wood as an important material in the building salvage industry in the United States. Indeed, wood is one of the materials most recovered from buildings. Whole businesses are dedicated to reclaimed wood from large timbers used as structural elements in large old buildings. Most general building salvage operations have a significant amount of lumber, but they also carry a lot of other items that are made out of wood or wood products. Cabinets, doors, flooring, trim, paneling, even some higher end windows have a lot of wood, and usually the wood is in a form that cannot be recycled — which makes reuse the best option. But how much wood reuse is going on? How much of salvaged material is wood or a wood product such as MDF or particle board? How many businesses are actively salvaging wood or selling reusable building materials? How does the practice of salvage and reuse of wood and wood products vary from region to region?
Dew said the project’s price tag was too high, and that with little money available to cover the cost, the only option was “deconstructing” them. She said historic materials were salvaged from the buildings and are being stored for future use.
While Levine agreed that the restoration cost was high, he said that the town was bound by the easement to do it. He expressed frustration at the refusal of town officials to discuss the matter in any detail.
The Gurski Farm homestead with the adjacent barn in the background. State officials are questioning why some buildings on the town-owned property were taken down.
“It wasn’t like the buildings were falling down,” said Bankston, who noted that demolition needs to be done carefully to avoid creating risks of collapse, such as by overloading floors with heavy debris.
He said his company left the project about a month ago amid a financial disagreement with the general contractor.
At least 60 firefighters responded to the collapse.
Anne Nicklin, executive director at the Chicago-based Building Materials Reuse Association
What should the architecture community know about building-material salvage and reuse?
Architects are becoming more curious about how to design for reuse. We get a lot of questions about selection—for example, how to pick out doors and store them for a few years [until the project is complete]. I encourage people to think about the process the same way they think about stone. You can specify a stone finish and then, often, when you’re ready for it in construction you can pick out your piece from what’s available. I don’t think architects realize how much they can reuse on their own sites. On most sites there’s a building that came down and still has a lot of [functional] materials—plywood, joists, glulam, stud walls, commercial steel—that are incredibly expensive to buy but are undervalued in the reuse market.
via Q+A: Anne Nicklin, Executive Director of the Building Materials Reuse Association, on Material Salvage | Architect Magazine | Products, Salvaged Materials, Renewable Materials, Recycled Materials, Sustainable Materials.
Campbell, 51, had been hired to raze three attached buildings with a cut-rate bid of $112,000, about a third of the next lowest bid. He could also keep whatever he could salvage. Campbell therefore “cannibalized” the building from the inside, removing the floors and support beams that stabilized the four-story walls, prosecutors said.
By the morning of June 5, 2013, all that remained of the former Hoagie City building was an unstable, 30-foot high brick wall attached to the one-story Salvation Army building.
“When that wall collapsed, it totally crushed that Salvation Army, and everyone inside,” Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Selber, the homicide chief, said in her opening statement.
The victims included two young artist friends dropping off donations, a mother of nine buying clothes to send to her native Sierra Leone and a newly engaged woman working her first day at the store. One survivor lost both legs after being trapped for 13 hours.
“The demand for reclaimed wood products has been steadily increasing as consumers recognize and value the look, feel, functionality and cost of reused wood in products such as flooring, furniture, structural timbers and more. The North American Wood Reuse and Recycling Directory will connect demand and supply to ensure the continued growth of this reclaimed wood market, while simultaneously keeping thousands of tons of wood out of landfills,” said BMRA Executive Director Anne Nicklin.
Features of ReuseWood.org:
The business directory is accessible via both map and list, with easy sorting capabilities according to target categories (location, services provided, etc).
Individual listing pages show the contact information, location and available services for each business.
The sustainable wood guide includes useful information and articles on the different wood products and the opportunities for wood reuse or recycling.
Construction waste management allows reuse and recycling of waste materials such as concrete, wood, plastic, and glass and can. This resolves supply shortages at construction sites as recycled construction waste can be reused as building material. Developed countries such as the US, the UK, and Germany and developing countries such as China, India, and Brazil are the major construction waste generators.
Further, the report states that illegal dumping of waste is a major factor hindering construction waste management market growth.
The analysts forecast global construction waste management market to grow at a CAGR of 9.67% by revenue over the period 2014-2019.
* EcoStores Nebraska received $20,000 to work with five contractors and property owners to divert construction waste from the landfill and develop best management practices for construction and demolition waste.
The Alchemist pub before it was illegally demolished
“In our view the demolition was a very serious breach of planning rules which can only be put right by the complete rebuilding and reconstruction of this important community asset, using the same materials and to the same architectural design.
“This building was an integral part of the St John’s Hill Grove conservation area and its loss has been keenly felt by local people. That’s why we are determined to take action to ensure it’s restored for future generations.”
The Alchemist pub after being knocked down
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If you examine some our most prominent building materials, it quickly becomes obvious that the way we’re doing things is causing a multitude of harm to our planet. The effects include a short list of things like land destruction from mining, deforestation, and significant greenhouse gas emissions from high energy consuming manufacturing.
A 1996 photo shows an interior view of Pilgrim Baptist Church during a service. Walter Kale TNS
Hopes of a restoration have fallen so far that some architectural preservationists think the only remaining option might be to preserve the surviving walls and turn the site into a park.
“Why don’t you take that garbage and put it in your backyard,” one resident shouted at Bellefontaine.
Kiann Management wants to rezone 38-acres of land along Highway 7 and use it to sort and recycle construction and demolition waste.
Point, click, shut! Camera stores are rapidly fading into obsolescence as smartphones take the place of mass market cameras, film and paid photo processing.
Nat Amarteifio is an architectural historian, writer and the former Mayor of Accra, Ghana.
As we continue to tap into natural resources to feed, house, travel, clothe and entertain ourselves, the construction field, such as agriculture, transport and energy, cannot remain unconcerned to such issues. To build differently, several strategies must be used. The reemployment of material is one of them.
The former Green Hotel, on Cooper Street in Woodbury, on Friday, April 24, 2015. (Staff photo by Jason Laday)
“The process has already begun, demolishing the building,” said Camden Diocese spokesman Peter Feuerherd on Friday.
The city planning and zoning board in August 2014 voted 6-1 to approve the demolition, over the protests of the members of Woodbury’s Historic Preservation Commission.
The building once known as the Green Castle Hotel, originally built in 1881 and turned into apartments in 1920, has been the subject of debate between Holy Angels Parish and preservation advocates for years.
Above: Construction waste is segregated and stockpiled for re-use on other sites
Current figures show that the UK recycles more of its construction and demolition (C&D) waste than most other EU countries. Some projects have recorded landfill diversion rates of more than 90% while the overall average rate in 2012 was a respectable 66.4%. That average rate is predicted to increase to 75.5% by 2020. An optimistic estimate, maybe, but still in line with the Waste Framework Directive which set a 2020 recycling rate target of 70% (by weight) for re-use, recycling and other recovery of C&D waste.
via Waste not, want not.
Save the Planet 2015 (Foto: Via Expo Ltd.)
Bulgaria and the countries from the Region are facing numerous challenges to achieve the high European waste management targets. Till 2020 they have to recycle 70 per cent of their construction waste and 50 per cent of the municipal waste. SE European countries are streamlining the legislation and introducing new facilities in cities, landfill sites and industry enterprises.
BOSTON — A Billerica waste hauling company has paid $62,500 to settle claims that it illegally dumped construction and demolition waste at an unauthorized site in Methuen.The attorney general says W.L. French Excavating Corp. violated Massachusetts state law by dumping 29 loads of waste, including concrete, bricks and asphalt.
Turning agricultural waste and fungal mycelium into construction materials, this do-it-yourself kit lets you grow your own compostable bio-plastic objects, from packaging furniture to surf boards and architectural building blocks.