Might we soon see a deconstruction project in Erie?

On reuseaction.com Michael Gainer and his staff boldly answer the question “Why do you do what you do?”; they do it to create jobs, provide training for young people, and promote ecological stewardship and community building. It was this commitment to community and economic revitalization that attracted attention here in Erie.

A group of 20, brought together by the Green Building Alliance, gathered Tuesday, Feb. 11 in a classroom of the Mercyhust University Interior Design Department to listen to Gainer talk about the deconstruction industry and his work with Buffalo ReUse (not-for-profit) and ReUse Action (for-profit), two deconstruction outfits he has founded in Buffalo, NY. In Erie, interest has grown locally in developing a deconstruction operation within the last year or two, and this presentation built momentum for the idea.

Deconstruction – a relatively new term for an old idea – is the careful dismantling of a building so that the materials may be reused or recycled. The practice has environmental and economic benefits, and is an unconventional means of preservation. While we don’t advocate for the removal of a building, if it is no longer fit for use, materials that retain value and usefulness can be saved through deconstruction and then integrated into other buildings.

To learn more about deconstruction, we recommend the following sources:

A slow motion deconstruction video produced by Gainer’s crew.

A Report on the Feasibility of Deconstruction and A Guide to Deconstruction, U.S. Department of Housing and Neighborhood Development

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