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Deconstruction Part II: Time-Lapse Video - The Unmaking of a House

We have completely removed the old house from the site of the Sunset Green Home project. 

Nothing left but the cinder block foundation.

Nothing left but the cinder block foundation.

If you read our earlier blog post, you know that we used whole home deconstruction rather than traditional demolition.  For a typical 2,000 square foot house, demolition sends 127 tons of debris to the landfill.  Deconstruction salvages any reusable building materials and recycles as much as possible.  We’re still awaiting our diversion numbers, but we anticipate that we will have diverted at least 70% of the demolition waste away from the landfill – enough to earn a LEED point for the Sunset Green Home project.

I think of Deconstruction as a perfect example of the “Triple Bottom Line” – which expands the traditional bottom line focus on economic profit to include two additional dimensions – those of environmental benefits and human capital gains. 

  • In Deconstruction, the environmental benefit is obvious.  Deconstruction keeps the vast majority of a building’s materials out of our overstressed landfills. 
  • The economics can work out favorably as well.  Although Deconstruction costs about twice as much as traditional demolition, the salvaged materials are donated to non-profits such as Habitat for Humanity and Build It Green! NYC.   Tax deductibility of the in-kind donation can offset the added cost.  Having an independent third-party appraisal is critical, and you should check with your tax adviser before relying on any outside information (including what you read here…I am not a tax professional!).
  • Finally, Deconstruction builds human capital.  The process is labor intensive and, as such, provides jobs in green building trades. 
The finished product - an empty lot, graded and ready for construction.  Photo courtesy of Chris Mensch

The finished product - an empty lot, graded and ready for construction.  Photo courtesy of Chris Mensch

Deconstruction is not just for whole homes; it’s also a great way to remove kitchens and baths in a home that is slated for renovation.  The salvaged building materials will be given a second life when you’re finished with them!

I’m happy to speak with anyone who would like more information...just fill out the Contact Us form on and I’ll get back to you.

We’re very proud of our whole home deconstruction.  And while the house was coming down, we documented the process via time-lapse video, including interviews of the crew from Details who deconstructed the house!  Take a look at the “unmaking” of a house.  Enjoy!

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