Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Lincoln Logs

A great article in the NY Times talks about a new trend in demolition, which is to NOT demolish, but rebuild from existing materials as much as possible from the inside out. Due to rising landfill costs, tighter recycling guidelines and the growing trend toward ecologically sound building methods, this sort of home “deconstruction,” as the practice is called, is starting to catch on. About 1,000 homes a year are disassembled this way, according to the Building Materials Reuse Association, a nonprofit in State College, Pa., which has certified 60 builders. Cities and states across the country are cracking down on demolition rubble entering landfills, including Massachusetts, which has banned brick, concrete, metal, wood and asphalt from landfills. Some 245,000 houses in the United States are razed each year, generating nearly 20 million tons of debris. Using old materials for new buildings isn’t a new idea. In the US, families often reused building materials to save money in the early part of the 20th century, a custom that fell out of favor as the country grew wealthier in the 1950s. There are about 1,000 reuse stores nationwide, where unlike architectural salvage stores, which sell marble fireplace mantels, stained glass and spiral staircases, reuse stores generally traffic in mundane items like light switches and insulation. As with buying secondhand clothes, the challenge — and potential charm — of reuse shopping is its unpredictability. Build it Green! NYC, a reuse shop in Astoria, sells sets from nearby film studios alongside items rescued from residential demolitions. So, thinking about demolishing your home anytime soon?

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