Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Deconstruct, Reuse, Repeat

I've been reading a lot of articles recently as well as seeing the PBS e2design program "Grey to Green" on reusing construction and demolition materials to use in new buildings. The idea of reusing discarded building materials also caught my eye last week in my entry about BioSIPs. My interest in Deconstructivism back in my school days as an architectural style has evolved into more support of an idea about current green construction practices such as actual building deconstruction and adaptive reuse.

Colorado has some companies that deconstruct and supply others with these materials, such as
Colorado Demolition, Haul Away Recycling Inc., ReSource Yards in Boulder and Fort Collins, the ReUse People, and the national Freecycle network. Recent articles include a Plenty Magazine article about an ebay-like material reuse site called PlanetReuse started by a Kansas City architect. And Treehugger's Deconstruct, Don't Demolish article is about a community oriented group in Western New York called Buffalo ReUse.

According to the U.S. EPA, construction and demolition debris is generated when new structures (residential and non-residential) are built and when existing structures are renovated or demolished. Components typically include concrete, asphalt, wood, metal, gypsum wallboard, glass, plastics, and roofing. Public works projects, such as streets and highways, bridges, piers, and dams, are also included. Many state definitions of construction & demolition debris also include trees, stumps, earth, and rock from the clearing of construction sites. Building demolitions account for 48% of the waste stream, or 65 million tons per year; renovations account for 44%, or 60 million tons per year; and 8%, or 11 million tons per year, is generated at construction sites.

Will the building materials of the future be the building materials of the past?


Spenser Villwock said...


Construction and Demolition waste recovery is at the heart of our mission in the ReSource reclaimed building materials programs in Boulder and Ft. Collins, Colorado.

It is notable to mention that the City of Boulder has recently revised the nation's first municipal sustainable building guidelines, Green Points. Within the revisions to this progressive environmental program is a mandatory 65% (by weight) C&D waste diversion to all projects over 500 sq. ft. and >50% of exterior walls being removed.

This landmark legislation is key in paving the way for more municipalities to follow the lead and work to reclaim and recycle more of the vital resources from our buildings that can then be locally sourced and processed again.

Great blog post.
Spenser Villwock
Center for ReSource Conservation
Boulder, Colorado

Christopher said...

Spenser, thats a great "Green" point you mention, looks like Boulder is ahead of the curve on this one. Keep up the good work at the Center for ReSource Conservation and thanks for the comment.