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.
Dismantling a historic barn is an exacting process, requiring weeks of logistical planning. Because the team hopes to repurpose every piece of wood, most work is done by hand, with the occasional support of heavy machinery. “The barn has its own plan,” says manager Anthony Saraceno. “There are always surprises.” Photo by Joe Polillio
Each salvage job is unique. In the case of Pitney Farm, a portion of the grounds is to be converted into a public park. Some of the salvaged wood was set aside to build benches for the park. Real Antique Wood will repurpose the rest. “I’ve probably made 25 mantels from the beams of that barn already,” says Anthony Saraceno, who manages the mill and Real Antique Wood.
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.
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.
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.
“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.”
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.
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
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.
“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.”
Officials with the distillery said on Thursday that they are pleased with the deconstruction of Warehouse H continues with a planned and controlled collapse.
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.
“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.”
WorldGBC will highlight the need for the sustainable production, design, build, use, deconstruction and reuse of buildings and their materials Buildings and construction together account for 36% of global final energy use and 39% of energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions when upstream power generation is included.
Deconstruction of the Empire Landmark hotel in Vancouver, BC, Canada.
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).
“The reuse industry needs to continue building more circular economy partnerships to repurpose reclaimed materials on a larger scale, “ Goodman says.
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.”
Ben’s Barn was constructed with a mix of reclaimed materials sourced not only from the former farmhouse and barn that had stood on another portion of the site, but also from a midcentury modern teardown in Weston, Massachusetts.
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.
This North Vancouver home, at 5,000 square feet, is one of the largest projects Unbuilders has taken on. After three weeks, they have completed the front-end salvage and the strip-out of the four units. The entire project, from start to finish, is estimated to take six weeks. Photo by Michelle Gamage.
And now, as some 3,000 homes are being torn down in Metro Vancouver each year, the material is being sent to landfill or, in the case of the lumber, being burned for heat or energy. “It’s really not waste — it is wasted. This is all reusable material,” Corneil said, gesturing around the home.
Buildings as Material Banks (BAMB) brings together fifteen partners from seven European countries. Its goal is a systemic shift in sustainable building.
Unbuilders is quickly becoming Canada’s deconstruction industry leader.Over the past year, Unbuilders has saved over 100,000 board feet of lumber and 250 tonnes of garbage from being thrown in landfills.In the most recent unbuild, just 3% of materials from an entire house ended up in the landfill.
In addition, deconstruction can potentially generate jobs around harvesting, processing and selling materials. Arlene Karidis | Sep 20, 2018
“The reuse economy is similar to the recycling industry in that it creates more jobs throughout the value chain than strictly disposing material in a landfill. As the reuse market continues to grow, more jobs will be created downstream, including warehouse operations, retail, value-added manufacturing and job training,” says Blomberg.
Devna Bose / The Meridian Star
The old cotton press warehouse structure stretches along a portion of Front Street in downtown Meridian. Part of the building is being dismantled and the rest will be saved and repurposed. Material from the building is being reused in buildings across the street and around Mississippi.
“The pine, it’s being shipped and flooring is being made out of it, and its bricks are being used in buildings all over Mississippi,” Massey said.
OLD HARDWOOD is salvaged from the 78-year-old former Smithey’s warehouse building in North Wilkesboro as part of a joint venture between building owner Cam Finley and North Wilkesboro-based Revient Reclaimed Wood. Second Street is seen through a hole left by a tornado last fall.
The old Smithey’s warehouse had part of its roof torn off by a tornado that touched down in Wilkes in October 2017. “As soon as I saw what was inside it, I knew it was a great building for us to salvage,” said Shepherd.
“It is important to us to use local contractors but also people with experience in deconstruction to help us reach our goal. Since there is local interest, we will reopen the bid process.”
2075 N. Cambridge Ave. Photo by Dave Reid.
“I mean, I thought we were doing something great here. But it’s contingent on, as usual, the private sector, money, fear of hiring ex-offenders.” Bauman called this program a case study in the obstacles confronted by attempts to create jobs. “If every time you try to create jobs for the folks most in need and the folks you want to keep off the street and keep out of the criminal justice system, if there’s a million obstacles put up, we’re sunk. We’ll never solve the problem.”
Photo by Darrell Jackson
Pictured is the interior of the Glendale location where Stardust Building Supplies offers a large assortment for sale to the public.
“Our deconstruction service is free and we have a list of questions that we ask to determine if the job is something we can do,” Fulton said. “Due to Environmental Protection Agency rules, we cannot do houses that were built before 1978 due to rules about asbestos and lead paint. A job supervisor will also do site searches to make sure the job is something we can do.”
Treena Gowthorpe and Kate Otter-Lowe are setting out to prove that a house can be deconstructed and recycled for the same price as demolition.
“You take a house that isn’t wanted in the community and deconstruct it. You carefully harvest all the materials from the house and then you use those materials and reconstruct it into tiny builds,” she said.
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.
“It’s much more oriented toward local governments and economic development practitioners,” who are looking at the steps community leaders can take to encourage greater deconstruction, Pytel said. “Waste is typically a consequence of a bunch of other decisions. We’re going up a few levels to get at the decisions that end up creating waste, as opposed to looking at things as waste to begin with.”
Four workers survey how to pull plaster off one of the walls. Baihly Warfield/WDIO
Better Futures Minnesota is managing the projects, Miigwech Aki is providing labor, and the Natural Resources Research Institute is adding in their expertise. They each believe the extra time involved with deconstructing a building instead of demolishing it is worth it.
“Oftentimes, when people compare demolition and deconstruction, they compare just the cash outlay right at the beginning. But we don’t believe that’s a fair comparison,” he said. Adams pointed to the legacy of overflowing landfills and the health risks they present. He also noted the increase in jobs and taxes generated by dismantling a building.
Thomas Adams, president and CEO of Better Futures Minnesota
Pete Brands (left) and Travis Blomberg (right) with WasteCap Resource Solutions
The four departments we plan to offer in the next six months are deconstruction, salvage services, the retail store and Do It Yourself, in which WasteCap partners with Fox 6 News to provide upcycling and reuse tutorials using materials in the warehouse.
A guide for the perplexed inside Philly Reclaim. As the books and paintings behind the sign indicate, there’s more on offer here than building materials.
And Philly Reclaim will sell just about anything that anyone brings to it. When I visited the store last fall, the available items included organ pipes that a donor had dropped off, deer skins, a phone booth, a pool table, and even old turntables and vintage vinyl LPs to play on them. There was wood reclaimed from a bowling alley, chalkboards from the old West Philadelphia High School, and a wooden bathtub filled with clawfoot feet for those needing them for their own historic restorations.
The introduction of new sections and criteria such as: A section dedicated to Site and Building Resilience. A section on Resource Conservation addresses minimized use of raw materials and encourages designing for deconstruction.
Tribune Chronicle / R. Michael Semple TNP worker Racheal Miller, 22, of Newton Falls, boards up a window on a house on Prospect St. in Niles.
The employees are trained to salvage materials from properties scheduled to be demolished as well as doing landscaping and maintenance at properties that already have been demolished.
According to Vancouver bylaws, at least 75 per cent of the material in homes built before 1940 must be recycled. In the case of heritage or character homes, that number is 90 per cent.
Lester Public Library (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
Reclaimed wood is stacked outside the Hamilton building in Two Rivers.
Reclaimed wood plays a growing role in Wisconsin economy. For example, one Rhinelander-based company, Enterprise Wood Products, has worked with reclaimed wood since 2010. The company began using reclaimed wood from the deconstruction of a grain elevator in Superior, and now remanufactures recycled wood into flooring, paneling, stair parts, timbers and more. Much of their current reclaimed wood supply comes from the deconstruction of the Hamilton building in Two Rivers, and reclaimed wood represents up to ha
Dan Speicher – Tribune Review
The American Architectural Salvage Shop, in Mt. Pleasant.
Czerpak said he will work closely with the demolition manager to evaluate potential projects based on store inventory needs or popular items. Waltenbaugh said 75 percent of people hired for the team will be female heads of household, those struggling with addiction and others who might have difficulty finding jobs. The employees will be trained.“We’re excited to get that up and running,” he said.
The grant program was instituted by state legislation to help rural communities with populations of 5,000 or less to deconstruct or renovate abandoned commercial and public structures.
The program emphasizes reuse and recycling of building items, helps improve street appearance and commercial development, and alleviates the environmental concern these buildings can pose. Financial assistance includes asbestos removal, building deconstruction and renovation, and other environmental services.
The South Kent Landfill, image courtesy Kent County.
“There are a lot of building materials and resources that are winding up in landfills,” Wieland says. “People are actually talking about deconstructing things instead of just demolishing them. We’re looking at all the waste materials that come out of the building industry and reusing them is one of the ways to reduce that waste.”
The historic Regional Treatment Center tower, close to the county government services center in northwest Fergus Falls, will be preserved while other sections of the RTC complex will be part of deconstruction. Tom Hintgen/Otter Tail County Correspondent.
The city of Fergus Falls is seeking $8.9 million from the state legislature to complete deconstruction on remaining sections of the RTC campus which includes 550,000 square feet of space on the northside of Fergus Falls. The Regional Treatment Center was originally built in 1890 by the state of Minnesota to house 3,500 patients with mental illness. During the 1950s and 1960s that number was reduced to close to 2,000 residents, cared for by 500 state employees.
“Heritage is one of our main economic drivers in the city. The deconstruction policy — if we had one — would address salvaging any materials in the case where demolition is absolutely necessary.”
Using time-lapse photography, the film shows the demolition of the famous Star Theatre. Judging from the various exposures, the work must have gone on for a period of approximately thirty days.
AN 11-PERSON TEAM from Americorps is in Mtn. View helping renovate House of Abigail. Team members Adrian Stephen and Rachel Silverman are carrying boards into the house for a floor the team is building.
Over the course of this six-week project, the AmeriCorps team will start by completing the deconstruction of the building’s interior. This will include removing the reaming walls, ceilings, floors, plumbing and other objects that cannot be reused after the renovation.
A barn built on school board property in the 1800s will be distmantled and moved in January. The barn was sold in November at a public auction.
ECO Deconstruction Owner Jeff Albert told Director of Programs Ed Robinson every piece from the old barn will be re-purposed, redesigned, and given new life. Much of the old barn wood he purchases is used for flooring.“It looks really good. It is in really good condition from what I can see. We will start at the top and work our way down. People really like to use the hand hewn timbers when building homes. And the stones have a good value too,” Albert said.
The port will remove the more-than-100-year-old Anacortes Junk Company building from Second Street. The site is the original location of Marine Supply & Hardware opened by Greek immigrant Efthemios “Mike” Demopoulos in 1910. Jacqueline Allison/Anacortes American
The port has been working with the museum to understand the historical significance of the stable before removing it, Executive Director Dan Worra said last month.