Building Green? Demolish with Care

Building Green? Demolish with Care

Trent Johnson
Nov 13, 2009

When it comes to demolishing an old home to put up a new one, most builders turn to a bulldozer for speed and efficiency. However, some builders and organizations like Habitat for Humanity take a different approach, instead dismantling old homes piece by piece with the idea of reusing everything they can.

This art, known as "deconstruction" (as opposed to demolition) is like a puzzle. Thin boards, even those with nails, can become a new fence. Worn cedar shingles could be cleaned up and used again.

The Bend Bulletin has followed a couple of green building projects from start to finish, including one that pulled a home apart with the intent of reusing the materials.

One of the projects they're following is led by Boxcar Productions, a builder that specializes in green building with used materials. Owner Paul Schmitz believes that "everything's got a purpose." Schmitz tries to keep as little waste out of the landfill as possible.

Organizations like Habitat for Humanity and their storefront ReStore take old building materials, like those from Schmitz's deconstructions, and sells them with all profits going to Habitat for Humanity. ReStore organizes volunteer teams to go out and do deconstruction work with the purpose of stocking their store's inventory. Treasures such as granite counter tops, appliances, doors and kitchen cabinets are just some of the treasures that are spared from going to the landfill.

Another company, Timberline Construction, hires people to pull nails and deconstruct the houses they work on. They estimate it'll take about $51,000 to deconstruct two of their current home projects - about $9,000 to $15,000 more than breaking out a bulldozer.

Despite the added cost (and time), however, and fortunately for the environment, deconstruction projects continue to be on the rise across the U.S.

Via the Bend Bulletin.

Photo Credit: All photos from Build It Green! NYC's Flickr Stream

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