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The Awakening of Deconstruction

The Awakening of Deconstruction

Although socioeconomic and environmental issues continue to confront communities at all angles, we shift our attention to creative and viable solutions for long-term stability. We are fully cognizant of the phrase “sustainable practices” since topics such as food and water scarcity along with landfill waste accumulation are constantly addressed to our awareness. Conscious decisions are counteracting these destructive issues with elevated support of local businesses, local food production and distribution, and sustainable building and living practices.

While on my recent journey through the Hawaiian Islands, I came across an innovative non-profit operation that has parallels to an establishment back in my home base city of San Francisco, CA. Re-Use Hawai‘i is a non-profit entity on Oahu that turns waste into building resources for either the DIY individual or contractors. Founded in 2007 slightly after the climax of home and commercial development, Re-Use Hawai‘i realized the unethical methodologies of sourcing new building supplies. It began informing its building community of their increasing waste contribution and capacity impact to its only construction and demolition solid waste landfill – PVT Landfill, in Nanakuli. Re-Use Hawai‘i has given homeowners two choices for either a remodel or rebuild: demolition or deconstruction. Once contractors obtain the proper permits, a large onslaught of machinery is rolled in and the demolition process begins. No surprise to its classification, demolition is structured around promptness, lasting only one day and leaving damaged materials such as splintered wood, broken windows, chunks of concrete and twisted metal in an impractical state.

Rather than physically damaging these materials and the long lasting utility, builders and homeowners have finally realized the opportunity cost in deconstruction. In a reciprocal fashion of leveling a foundation and systematically following the processes that are required to build walls and a roof, deconstruction is the art construction, but dismantlement of the home. During deconstruction, materials are sorted into their proper categories and eventually hauled off to warehouses such Re-Use Hawai‘i where lumber, aluminum, fixtures etc will be reviewed for re-sale. The ethical motive in the deconstruction process is apparent; however, homeowners can have deconstruction appraisers quantify the value of their salvaged materials that can exceed $5,000. After receiving the appraiser's report for the Al Mighty IRS, the homeowner can claim deductions over 1 – 5 year period. That’s one hell of a “YEW!” if you ask me.

Near the end of my research of deconstruction, I began asking, “how is demolition even feasible with alternatives like deconstruction?” Maybe it could be the impatient mentality of American society since it seems we always WANT IT NOW and then there is the money issue. Sure, deconstruction may cost the homeowner more in the short term. But, include the long term tax breaks and the social responsibility by returning affordable materials back to the supply chain for wood workers, creating jobs in the building industry while also creating some unique character to the next home and one would have to be a kook to not consider deconstruction.

It all comes down to education and taking the time to expand your knowledge. For my Bay Area readers, I noted in the beginning that Re-Use Hawai‘i shared similarities to a local SF establishment. Do a favor for your creative self by visiting Building Resources SF in the Dogpatch district. Click HERE for its website.

video shared from Mollusk Surf Shop

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