How can we reach our 2020
Greenest City Targets?

How can we reach our 2020 Greenest City targets?

Encourage deconstruction to recover used building materials & reduce construction waste

Construction waste accounts for a huge proportion of waste in our landfills. The majority of materials can be reused, recycled or repurposed. Deconstruction offers job creation opportunities and supports a new market for used building materials

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AdminCOVSustainableDevel (Admin, CG2020) shared this idea  ·   ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
under review  ·  AdminGreenest City Planning Team (Admin, CG2020) responded  · 

The Draft Greenest City Action Plan includes an action to develop a building deconstruction policy. The City is piloting a building deconstruction project and is exploring options for an incentive program to encourage deconstruction.


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  • Janine Brossard commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I just built a house in Vancouver. I spent months on Craigslist finding houses that were due to be demolished. We recovered beautiful fir floors, doors, stairs, moldings, antique hardware, cast iron radiators, wrought iron railings. However, sometimes the listing was put on Craigslist saying the house was coming down in a couple of days - which didn't give us (or anyone else) enough time to deconstruct. It was heartbreaking to see this valuable stuff be bulldozed and sent to the landfill. Perhaps make it mandatory that if the owners do not wish to sell/deconstruct before demolishing that they have an 'open house' for scavengers for at least 20 days beforehand. This would open up a whole new business stream for antique/heritage materials.

  • AdminGreenest City Planning Team (Admin, CG2020) commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    NOTE: Ian Mass's idea "Deconstruct Buildings, Don't demolish Them" was merged with this one

    In Vancouver there are 850 to 1000 housing demolitions/year with an average of 15 to 20 tons/home which go straight to the landfill. Deconstructing buildings, selling the materials through non profits and employing inner city youth and adults would meet financial, social and environmental goals. Housing deconstruction policies and programs are being developed all over North America so why not Vancouver.

  • Manda commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    There are a lot of cities that are now pursuing deconstruction as a way to reduce waste going to the landfill, but this strategy could also create thousands of green jobs. Instead of 2 workers spending 2 days demolishing a house and creating 15 tons of waste, deconstruction could employ 10 people for a couple weeks while diverting 80% of the house from the landfill to a resale shop so residents can buy the material for fixing up their homes.

  • Barb commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Re-use the wood in new buildings where possible and use the rest as a source of renewable energy!

  • Juvarya Warsi commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Metro Vancouver is initiating a pilot renovation waste diversion project through their Build Smart program:

    The issue is that buildings aren't built to be deconstructed, and there are not well developed enough channels that take and reuse building products like toilets and appliances.

    Definitely a good idea, and needs coordination and thought.

  • Pradeep K.Verma MBBS commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    should be mandated is double mandated by the way. There is a fundamental problem with mandating people. It makes them unhappy and unhappy people cant go green. So we need to find ways that people would abandon stupidity and embrace green lifestyle willingly because it is good for them and the generations to come. Let us focus on that. Cheers. See how here

  • Pradeep K.Verma MBBS commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Everything is in the original planning. If the virgin material used for new houses is designed with the vision of future recyclability, as is a consideration for example in the resale value of cars we can hugely minimize the ecological footprint of our mansions which are unnatural habitats for humans that nature intended to be cave dwellers like apes and chimps. We broke the natures commandments and are paying the price. It is only through intelligent compromises and innovation that we can save ourselves from extinction but we do not seem to be that smart at this time.

  • daniellepretto commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    this would be a win-win if we can ensure that the cost to deconstruct and recover old materials is low enough to be economically feasible to developers. money could be partially recovered through the resale of materials and additionally these users benefit by bringing old-world charm into their new development!

  • Pradeep K.Verma MBBS commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    This idea is truly huge but will take few billions to get this plant going where building material can be recycled. This and some 20 other great ideas are listed at this link It should be of interest to readers to learn that Building Waste Recycling Plant has now opened in Abu Dhabi see details at
    The plant is one of the largest and most sophisticated of its kind in the region. It has the capacity to handle more than 5,000 tons and to reach 15000 tons in the future. The plant will separate plastics, steel, wood, and paper for recycling. The remaining waste will be processed to produce aggregates which will be reused in the construction industry. The plant will help tackle the problem of illegal dumping of building waste in the Emirate. Using these recycled materials will also help minimize the Emirate’s dependency on natural materials and therefore reduce the depletion of natural recourses.

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