Create the Future. Today

Community-focused deconstruction & salvage

Property & Construction

Vacant, run-down buildings are usually viewed as a community liability, with quick demolition seen as the only solution. A more eco-minded approach, however, is deconstruction, which allows for the salvage of the building’s still-usable pieces. Buffalo ReUse is a New York-based non-profit organization that specializes in just that, providing deconstruction services, community education, jobs and a store for salvaged parts. Established in 2006, Buffalo ReUse is a fully licensed and insured contractor with a full-time crew that can completely remove residential structures, barns and garages. Through deconstruction—in which buildings are carefully taken apart rather than demolished in one blow—building materials including lumber, fixtures and architectural detail can be saved. These are then sold through Buffalo ReUse’s ReSource store, which just opened last week as a local source for building materials and household items, DIY ideas, green education and community outreach. Proceeds from the sale of those items then get put back into the community, as Buffalo ReUse collaborates with block clubs and community associations to develop new neighbourhood assets. The organization offers myriad volunteer opportunities for such projects as community tree-planting, mural painting or other forms of neighbourhood revitalization, as well as paid work for local people. Ultimately, it hopes to use deconstruction as a springboard for job training and leadership development, providing men and women between 18 and 24 years old with a way to build related skills, interests and even small businesses. Buffalo ReUse was recently selected by The Financial Times and the Urban Land Institute as one of 20 finalists for the 2008 FT ULI Sustainable Cities Award based on nominations received from around the world. New York State assemblyman Sam Hoyt, one of those who nominated the group, explains: “Buffalo ReUse should serve as a model for other communities to reduce waste dumped in our landfills, to employ young adults from our inner city, and to work with community members to make neighbourhoods greener.” The lesson for eco and social entrepreneurs around the world: look no further than the abandoned buildings around you for a wealth of opportunity! Spotted by: Andrea Kleinfelder



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