September 22, 2017

Happy Earth Day.  It is great to be following the many new techniques, materials and philosophies in the construction industry that promote healthier options for environmentally conscientious, efficient homes.  We live in exciting times.

While much has been written, and web searches bring up amazing materials and products for green construction, I would like to explore today the green options for the start of your project…the demolition.

We are all looking to ways to reduce our waste in our household operations, from cloth grocery bags and packaging choices, to recycle bins and municipal composting programs, energy efficient lightbulbs and non off-gassing mattresses, paints, and/or carpets.  Just about every aspect of our home lives can be considered in earth-conscious choices.

One of the most potentially waste costly parts of a home renovation is represented by that large dumpster bin that shows up in the driveway on Day 1.  While time efficiency is a definite factor to the bottom line of your renovation, consider the many costs of not thinking green as you tear out the old.  I will start with your wallet.  That dumpster is going to go to the landfill, where it will be weighed and charged accordingly.  And you pay that cost.  Not to mention the cost to the environment in trying to break down the mass and weight of all that wood, metal, plastic, drywall, etc.

Wood is easily recycled, if separated natural from pressure treated.  Consider taking out your old cabinets intact for sale or as a donation to ReStore, Habitat for Humanity’s reuse/recycle store (  They can reuse most materials.  Your trash may be another’s treasure.

Drywall can be recycled to make new drywall.  Asphalt shingles are also used to make new shingles, instead of sitting in your landfill for 300 years!  Old fixtures, appliances, carpets, glass can all be recycled or reused.  There really isn’t anything you shouldn’t consider for a green disposal option.  Check out

Discuss your options with your contractor.  It not only makes good environmental sense, it can save you thousands of dollars in disposal costs, and benefit others by providing reusable materials for their projects.  Cities, such as Vancouver, BC are now beginning to require environmental consideration at demolition, and offer guides to assist the homeowner with good choices.

Wishing you a healthy, green renovation, and Happy Earth Day!

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