2/19 A site to look at for additional information on Deconstruction and Architectural Reclamation:http://www.deconstructioninstitute.com/index.php
Mercy Corp Historic ReclamationAs more and more residents return home, many face the major decision of how to repair their houses. Where appropriate, Mercy Corps advocates for "deconstruction," which is done by contractors (not bulldozers) who take a home apart piece by piece to salvage reusable materials, recover items of historic value, and reclaim personal belongings if possible.
Salvageable building materials often include cypress floorboards, windows, moldings, mantels, bathroom fixtures and doors. Important benefits of deconstruction are that it keeps tons of solid waste from filling already overflowing landfills and creates job opportunities for construction crews.
Mercy Corps has worked with the city and federal government to make deconstruction a federally reimbursable option for homeowners. Currently, deconstruction is available for homes designated as "historic" by federal regulation, but the goal is to expand this program to others in the near future.
Mercy Corps works closely with the Green Project, which re-sells salvaged building materials to the public at affordable prices.
For information about purchasing recycled building materials, please contact the Green Project at 504-945-0240. Or, visit them at www.thegreenproject.org or 2831 Marais Street, New Orleans.
For information on deconstruction, please contact Preston Browning at firstname.lastname@example.org or 225-236-2037.
Storm-damaged homes find new life
Workshop dismantles, recycles old materials
By KAREN NELSON
OCEAN SPRINGS - The surge-damaged home of Robert Wiygul and Julia Weaver will be dismantled in January and many of its parts distributed to Coast people who need building materials.
It could start a trend.
Dismantling is a better option than having it bulldozed and hauled to a landfill, Wiygul said. "The stuff gets reused. Some of it we'll use ourselves."
The deconstruction will be part of a workshop offered by Brad Guy, director of the Hamer Center for Community Design at Penn State University.
Along with the Wiygul's home, at least two homes in East Biloxi will be taken apart for materials during the workshop.
The idea is to train people to see the value of materials in houses that are too badly damaged to be saved.
The older homes have lumber in them that isn't available on the market anymore - cypress and heart pine. Often those old, wide boards can be planed and reused as flooring, even if it's sold at a discount.
"There are jobs in crushing things and hauling them to a landfill," Guy said. "But there are actually more jobs created when the material in a house is salvaged and recycled. Then there's the resale value of the salvaged material itself to be considered."
Mark Williams, coordinator of solid waste policy with the state Department of Environmental Quality, sees a broad application for the program.
"We've seen so much destruction and waste in debris that has come out of the hurricane," Williams said. "We're very supportive of these efforts to reclaim materials."
He said if dismantling catches on along the Coast, it might be a springboard for such practices statewide for any building set to be demolished.
The January workshop will be hands-on. The participants, who are coming from around the country, will be doing the salvage work.
"We won't make much of a dent, only three houses," Guy said. "But the materials will stay in the area."
It will be donated to the Interfaith Disaster Task Force warehouse in Gulfport for distribution.
The workshop is being held on the Coast to help promote deconstruction specifically for Hurricane Katrina-damaged buildings. But so far, those who signed up are from other states, where the notion of recycling dilapidated buildings is already catching on as a business.
In Pittsburgh, a nonprofit salvaging from blighted buildings has recorded $2.2 million in sales over five years to people looking for discounted building materials, Guy said.
Guy is hoping Coastians will sign up. The closest participant so far is from New Orleans. But a building recycling program on the Coast could offer residents lumber at half price.
Katrina-damaged houses donated to the workshop will yield Guy solid research on the true value of the work in this area - how long it takes to take a house apart and what the materials are worth.
Several Katrina scenarios can be found in the donated houses. There's the tiny one on Railroad Street in East Biloxi that can't be saved. It's leaning off its foundation, but its walls were built with 1-by-12s in such a way that they didn't even need studs. Those boards and others will be reused.
David Perkes, with the College of Architecture at Mississippi State University, has worked in East Biloxi since the storm and submitted the house to Guy. Perkes has passed along others that he and his crew have deemed unable to be repaired.
Wiygul's home was flooded only on the first floor, but sits so low on the lot that he and Weaver decided not to rebuild it to its original design. Instead, they'll start from scratch and build higher, smaller, sturdier and more energy efficient.
Since the storm, more than 400 volunteers have used the second floor for living quarters. It's still functional and Weaver said she hated the thought of all the fixtures, doors and windows - even the wood - going to a landfill.
"But we didn't want to put so much back into the house and worry about every tropical storm that comes along," Weaver said.
"The house has had a good life," Wiygul said. "It has housed a lot of kids and volunteers, and now it's going to its next life."
Dismantling a house
What: A workshop on dismantling and salvaging materials in a house for redistribution or resale.
Who: Offered by the Hamer Center for Community Design at Penn State University.
When: The workshop is offered in two segments. A participant can sign up for one or both - Jan. 3-7 and Jan. 8-13.
Details: Participants will dismantle a house in Ocean Springs and two or three in East Biloxi. It's free to anyone who wants to participate with equipment and tools provided.
To enroll: Contact Brad Guy at 814-865-5733.