Over a 10-week period, Detroit Future City — a Kresge Foundation-funded nonprofit that devised a 50-year planning framework for the city and now works to implement the plan— is teaming with NextEnergy, EcoWorks and an array of other partners to use vacant houses as a laboratory for reusing materials in a process called partial deconstruction.
Instead of just knocking houses down, crews are prying them apart, removing floorboards, unhinging doors and windows, salvaging hardware.
“This is blazing trails we haven’t gotten to before,” Kinkead said Wednesday, at a site in southwest Detroit, where a hard-hat crew was stripping a Pearl Street house down to its frame.
Erin Kelly, a NextEnergy program manager, is overseeing the project, systematically testing different approaches to salvaging building materials in a cost-effective way. The team has tried everything from a meticulous five-day deconstruction — likely to be too expensive for most sites — to a one-day “skimming” process that may prove practical.