Most people are aware that most buildings―aside from select historic buildings that are purposefully preserved―have a life cycle. The typical lifespan of a building is usually several years or many decades, depending on the purpose of the building. Once the building has decayed and is no longer in functioning order, it is demolished. Each year, approximately 136 tons of waste is created by demolishing buildings. Fortunately, recent years has brought upon a new technique known as deconstruction.
Building Deconstruction ― What Is It?
According to the Institute for Local Self-Reliance Organization; building deconstruction is defined as “the systematic disassembly of a building [for] the purpose of recovering valuable materials for reuse.” In a standard demolition, it isn’t unusual for the contractor to salvage certain materials―specifically the windows, doors and in some cases; light fixtures. Then, the remainder of the building is knocked down (usually with a wrecking ball or bulldozer) and hauled away to a landfill.
In deconstruction, not only are the windows, doors and light fixtures salvaged―but the flooring, roofing, siding, pieces of the frame itself (whether the frame is steel or wood) and any other reusable pieces of the home are saved, reused and recycled; thus reducing the amount of waste that enters the landfills.
Cost of Building Deconstruction versus Building Demolition
Like many types of eco-friendly building, remodeling or recycling; deconstruction is slightly more expensive than traditional demolition. While this is unfortunate, many people are unaware that deconstruction may only be as little as a dollar more per square foot in comparison to demolition; and in some states, deconstruction may actually be cheaper than demolition, click over here.
For example, one study done by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) showed that the estimated cost of deconstructing a 2,000 square foot home was between approximately $4.50 and $5.40 for every square foot. Meanwhile, another study performed by a Hartford deconstruction project claimed that deconstruction cost approximately $2.00 for every square foot for deconstruction and $3.00 for every square foot of demolition.
Timeline of Building Deconstruction versus Building Demolition
One of the many factors of cost is due to the extended period of time it may take to deconstruct a building. Deconstruction of a building can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks; while demolition only takes a few hours.
While many may feel that deconstruction is more expensive at the start, it should be noted that it is significantly more beneficial in the long run. By deconstructing a home, extra labor is necessary―thus boosting the economy and creating extra jobs. Deconstruction also reduces the amount of waste sent to the landfill. In fact, a single 2,000 square foot home can produce up to 6,000 board feet of wood that can be reused; which then saves 33 mature trees or 10 acres of pine. However, this is only scratching the surface of the benefits of building deconstruction.
If you’re planning to build a new home or remodel your existing home; remember: building deconstruction is an eco-friendly way to reduce, reuse and recycle construction waste.