The house-building boom has gone bust, but the rebuilding boom has just started. The ReBuilding Center, a non-profit in Portland, Ore., is a building supply store for sustainable construction. All the stock is entirely reclaimed and local.
Portland has one of the most comprehensive and accessible networks of reclaimed building materials and fittings in the country. Even so, demand at the ReBuilding Center is such that each day, 300 visitors browse through stock that is refreshed every 15 minutes. But salvaging these materials takes skill and labor; old buildings are dismantled by hand.
That’s why the ReBuilding Center has a companion deconstruction service. “When you demolish something, you treat it as a liability,” says executive director Shane Endicott. “When you deconstruct, you treat those resources as an asset.” He notes that deconstruction creates six to eight jobs for every one demolition job, while benefiting the environment and saving homeowners 50 percent–90 percent over new materials.
Susan DeFreitas wrote this article for A Resilient Community, the Fall 2010 issue of YES! Magazine.
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