Skip to main content

Deconstruction & Building Material Reuse Focus of December Quarterly Meeting

By December 8, 2022January 18th, 2023Ithaca

Susan Holland and Christine O’Malley from Historic Ithaca to Speak on Dec. 15

The built environment is one of the major factors contributing to climate change, generating an estimated 40 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions. But over their entire lifecycle buildings also account for more than 50 percent of resource consumption and roughly the same amount in waste production.

One of the keys, then, to reducing the carbon footprint of buildings is to pay attention to the materials used to construct them, looking for ways to reduced their embodied carbon. From this perspective, the greenest material is one that already exists. Reclaimed material has the least carbon impact because it’s already been produced.

Ithaca 2030 District Partners will hear about this new approach to salvaging and reusing construction materials at the next quarterly meeting on Thursday, December 15 at 4:30-6 pm. Susan Holland, executive director of Historic Ithaca, and Christine O’Malley, the nonprofit’s preservation services coordinator, will discuss the local effort to promote deconstruction as a way to reduce the impact of the built environment on climate change.

As part of the CROWD (Circularity, Reuse, Zero Wasted Development) working group, Holland and O’Malley have joined with other community organizations and Cornell University faculty to help shift demolition practices so that more materials can be recovered and used for other construction projects. Perhaps CROWD’s most visible project so far was a pilot project in Collegetown earlier this year when they deconstructed a house to learn more about the process and how to improve it. The effort was spearheaded by Cornell’s Circular Construction Lab, which is led by Felix Heisel, assistant professor of architecture, and Finger Lakes ReUse.

Be sure to attend the meeting on December 15 to hear about this new, pathbreaking approach to making the our local built environment more sustainable and climate-friendly.

2030 Districts Network