The Woodka Remodel Week Two: Teardown Continued
The Woodka project got off to start in week one with a bang, as a small army of volunteers from the local Habitat for Humanity chapter descended on the house to begin demolition.
Due to the sheer size and complexity of this remodel, there was no way that the demolition process would be completed in one week. In fact, we probably need to come up with a new term to replace "demolition," since the goal was to donate as much material as possible to Habitat for reuse in new homes. Perhaps "deconstruction" is a better word for what is happening at the Woodka house. Demolishing old building materials and throwing them into a dumpster for a trip to the landfill can be a very quick process; carefully removing old materials so they can be reused takes time.
Much was accomplished during week one of the Woodka Project, but a second week was necessary to make sure as much of the old material as possible is salvaged.
As the team of volunteers settles in for another week of taking apart the old Woodka house, it's a good time to step back and look at how doing things in a sustainable, environmentally-friendly manner isn't necessarily the easiest (or even cheapest) way to go about taking apart a home.
Going Green Takes Teamwork and TimeWithout the generous support from the Habitat for Humanity team, the careful deconstruction of the Woodka house probably wouldn't have been possible. It has taken dozens of helping hands two weeks now to take things apart, organize materials, and pack them up for transport to the local Habitat warehouse.
Paying for this labor would have been very expensive, probably prohibitively so. The skill and expertise with material reuse that Habitat provided made this immense task manageable. Without their assistance, the deconstruction process again would probably have been impossible.
Without the manpower, organization, and donation services of Habitat for Humanity, what would the alternative have been? For most home construction or renovation, the answer is typically to rip out old materials as quickly as possible (often rendering it useless for future applications) and hauling it to a landfill.
The decision to reuse and recycle as much of the old materials removed from the Woodka house during this renovation project illustrates a very important point: homeowners who want to do things sustainably have to do lots of research and organizing before work ever beings on their project.
Habitat for Humanity is a priceless resource for any homeowner looking to minimize a building projects' environmental footprint. Take advantage of their services whenever possible. If your location doesn't have a Habitat chapter, seek out other alternatives. There are a variety of other charities (such as churches) that can assist with removing and donating old housing materials. If a charity service is unavailable, the next step would be to seek out a commercial firm that could be hired to do the deconstruction work. It's not as inexpensive as working with a charitable group, but at least the building materials are given a future that doesn't involve a landfill.