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Deconstruction 101: It’s all in the Details

If breaking ground on the Sunset Green Home project is considered “getting out of the starting gate” then removing the house that was substantially damaged by Hurricane Sandy is akin to getting into the starting gate.  And we’re almost there…

Sunset Green Home Under Deconstruction.jpg

Today was Day Four of our Whole House Deconstruction effort, and the house is about halfway down.  So what is deconstruction and why are we doing it?  Deconstruction is NOT demolition.  A typical demolition job would take a fraction of the time that is required for deconstruction, and would cost about half as much.  But 100% of the house would be bulldozed and dumped into a landfill. 

By contrast, whole house deconstruction refers to the careful dismantling of a structure to preserve materials that can be reused elsewhere and to recycle materials that cannot be reused in their current form.  Deconstruction is done by hand.  Workers trained in deconstruction strip the inside of the house, salvaging any fixtures, fittings and materials that can be reused, and setting them aside to be donated to non-profits such as Habitat for Humanity or Build It Green! NYC.

Once the inside of the house has been disassembled, the house is taken apart shingle-by-shingle and stud-by-stud from the roof to the foundation.  Again, any materials that can be salvaged – such as windows and flooring – are carefully removed and earmarked for donation.  Whatever can’t be salvaged is taken by a waste hauler who is focused on recycling and is able to divert a significant portion of the waste away from the landfill.

Details Deconstruction Removing Sunset Green Home Windows.JPG

The Sunset Green home is being deconstructed by Details, a division of Humanim, a Baltimore-based non-profit organization whose mission includes workforce development programs.  Details teaches green building practices and provides entry level employment to members of its crews. 

Details Deconstruction Crew at Sunset Green Home.JPG

And in fulfilling its mission, Details keeps thousands of tons of waste from entering our nation’s over-stressed landfills (one estimate by the Deconstruction Institute, funded by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, estimates a 2,000 square foot house would, if demolished, generate 127 tons of debris). 

The Sunset Green Home project hopes to earn one point toward LEED certification by diverting over 70% of our demolition waste through the deconstruction process.

Our crew is hard at work deconstructing the house on the Sunset Green Home site.  Like I said, it's all in the Details...

Details Deconstruction Team at Sunset Green Home.JPG

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