Check out the Mud Report, and this great article about Deconstruction!
Deconstruction is the process of carefully dismantling a building in order to salvage components for reuse, as opposed to demolition, where buildings are smashed with wrecking balls and bulldozed, leaving components in bits and pieces.
Having spent 30 years working with a group of great people from the Roberts Creek area building and renovating homes around there and down in California i and the homeowner friends we worked with and for can testify that deconstructing and reusing materials along with buying used building materials is the key to cost effective construction. Demolishing, destroying and dumping the valuable materials that already have embedded within them all the energy it took to produce and ship them then to go buy new materials that themselves must be harvested, manufactured and shipped [and profited on at each step] is not only a waste of money, it’s dumb.
There are so many social and environmental benefits to deconstruction it’s hard to list them all. The first reason after the overall cost is jobs, local jobs and money spent locally benefits local businesses and manufacturing. That money stays in the community where it’s re-spent again and again. Next would be all the crap that’s kept out of the waste stream, out of the landfills, out of the damn incinerators [the basic topic of these recent posts] and the tax money involved. Next would be quality. The lumber in an old house is so superior to what’s being produced today there is no comparison, just ask any carpenter.