Choosing Deconstruction over Demolition

From on December 20, 2007 in General Remodel

National Association of the Remodeling IndustryAccording to the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI), construction waste makes up 20 percent of the waste in U.S. landfills. The majority of this waste can potentially be recycled, such as lumber, sheetrock, metal, cardboard, plastic, glass, doors, windows, roofs, and most sinks and tubs. If more homes were deconstructed instead of demolished, the material generated could be reused, saving energy otherwise used during building and disposal. Here’s more on deconstruction from NARI:

  • Approximately every 3 square feet of lumber saved from an older structure can become 1 square foot of a new residence.
  • If deconstruction became the new residential demolition, contractors could use recovered wood to build 120,000 new affordable homes annually. This could save 10 acres of pine, which occupy the size of seven football fields.
  • Owners who remodel instead of demolish divert 80 percent of the waste that a demolition would incur and save $2,540 in disposal costs.
  • If carefully deconstructed and recycled into new products, the steel and plastic from a 2,000-square-foot home can preserve 59 million BTUs of embodied energy, equal to about 513 gallons of gasoline.
  • As a result of burying about 33 million tons of wood from demolition and construction debris in landfills, about 5 million tons of carbon equivalent are released annually into the atmosphere as methane gas. This is the equivalent of emissions from 3,736,000 passenger cars.
  • Recycling the 5,174 pounds of steel and 1,830 pounds of plastic in an average single family home would be equal to greenhouse gas reduction made possible by 114 trees in one year.
  • Each ton of wood remodelers reuse avoids the emission of 60 pounds of greenhouse gases.