Here’s a continuation of the “It’s Easy Being Green” series from the Center for American Progress:
In response to the City of Buffalo’s plan to demolish 1,000 buildings a year for the next 10 years, Michael Gainer started Buffalo ReUse in 2006. The nonprofit’s full-time crew employs hybrid deconstruction–a combination of human labor and a telescopic forklift–as an alternative to demolition. They remove and reuse building materials, including lumber, fixtures, and architectural detail. What isn’t removed is recycled, which means less material in landfills.
In its first year and a half, Buffalo ReUse has deconstructed 10 houses, diverting nearly 30 tons of debris from landfills. They’ve obtained seed funding of nearly $250,000, developed a board of directors and a growing volunteer staff, and opened a retail store to sell the reused building materials from their deconstructions.
The organization is also supporting LEED building credits for developers to encourage more “green-minded” development and accepting donations from homeowners of new or used building materials.
To promote education about their practice, Buffalo ReUse has teamed up with the Building Materials Reuse Association and is sponsoring the first Great Lakes Deconstruction Conference in Buffalo in November of this year. The conference will explore the use of deconstruction, building materials reuse, and other creative solutions to address issues unique to abandoned housing and vacant lots in Great Lakes urban centers.
— Kari M.