The good people at the nonprofit Architectural Salvage Warehouse of Detroit do more than save great architectural details in buildings they painstakingly deconstruct, though they’re well-known for that. According to Chris Rutherford, executive director of ASW, explains that the group’s mission also includes waste diversion: Without Rutherford and his teams, every item for sale in the warehouse would have gone in a landfill.
Architectural Salvage Warehouse field supervisor Renard Culp pulls up oak flooring from a home in Grosse Pointe. (Robin Buckson / The Detroit News)
“That’s why deconstruction needs to be part of a building removal package,” said Rutherford, who heads the nonprofit focused on keeping building materials out of landfills. “If deconstruction isn’t included, then we’re just throwing literally millions and millions of dollars worth of material into a landfill.”
Rutherford pointed to his own economic impact study that assumes the city would dedicate $2.8 million to the effort, with an average of 24 homes being removed each month for one year. He projected at least half of the 288 homes would produce usable building materials, resulting in $6.5 million in economic activity supporting 160 jobs.
The study, Rutherford said, measures the initial workers needed to deconstruct homes and the resulting wholesale, manufacturing and retail sales from the salvaged materials and lumber.
“There’s a brand new lumber industry in the city that everyone is going to benefit from,” he said.
Groups have been doing deconstruction work and training in and around Detroit for the last decade, but this project would integrate the practice with demolition for the city.