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Latest TRP News

President's Blog

Where Have All the Buildings Gone?

Folks who are interested in landfill diversion and reuse might be curious about the fate of the country’s many vanished buildings. Where have they gone? Predominantly to landfills and recycling, I regret to say. “But wait,” you ask. “Don’t we have vibrant reuse businesses throughout the U.S.? And a national building materials reuse association?” Maybe. […]Read More >

Your Decision Makes a Difference

As a Regional Manager for The Reuse People (TRP), I help to fulfill the organization’s mission to reduce building-materials waste, an involvement that stems from my interest in the varied benefits of building-materials reuse, and in my enthusiasm for improving local communities and the environment. Having your home remodeled, or torn down, for a rebuild […]Read More >

The Evolution of Contemporary Deconstruction

In my distant days as a partner within Creative Business Strategies, I focused on raising money for entrepreneurs and developing new technical and scientific breakthroughs, including silicon chip manufacturing, machine learning software and robotics. Today, technology has passed me by so quickly that I struggle trying to permanently increase the font size of my Outlook […]Read More >

Building for Deconstruction: Three Things to Avoid

While preparing to write January’s Velvet Crowbar, I decided to do some internet research. When I conducted a Google search on Design for Disassembly, the first full page of references included the titles, “Design for Disassembly and the Environment,” “Design for Disassembly and Deconstruction: Challenges and Opportunities,” “Design for Disassembly: Themes and Principles,” “Design for […]Read More >

Michigan Boosts TRP Footprint in the Midwest

Several years ago TRP made an invited foray into Chicago, establishing The ReUse People of Illinois. Within a few years that office became a leader among our 12 regional locations, thanks largely to Illinois Regional Manager Ken Ortiz, who also currently serves as TRP board chairman. TRP has now begun a second venture into the […]Read More >

The Promise of Commercial Deconstruction Revisited

Six months have passed since I wrote about the importance of commercial deconstruction and materials salvage, in an earlier e-letter. Since then, developments in this arena have been explosive. February and March: At the request of StopWaste.org and the San Francisco Department of Environment, TRP participated in a study concerning the viability of creating a […]Read More >

More on Deconstruction Ordinances and Bylaws

Earlier this month I was invited to the historic town of Victoria to give two workshops for a range of people tasked with implementing the city’s newly passed Deconstruction Bylaw. Audiences included building, demolition and deconstruction contractors, house movers, city personnel involved in the bylaw’s oversight, receivers and distributors of salvaged building materials and construction […]Read More >

A Case for Destructive Testing, or What’s Behind That Wall?

A fascinating Google alert recently landed in my in-box. When I read the title, “235-Year-Old Home Deconstruction,” the first thought that jumped into my mind was, Who would deconstruct a 235-year old home? The home in question was originally built in approximately 1787 by Israel and Susannah Grant (a sister of Daniel Boone). Its final […]Read More >

Oakland’s Community-Sized Adaptive Reuse Project

My journey from finance and investment banking, to deconstruction and building-materials salvage necessitated that I examine the historic, environmental and financial benefits of adaptive reuse. Admittedly, the projects I toured, read about and investigated were generally quite large and visually impressive. For example: Cincinnati’s Union station, Hong Kong’s New Arts Center, and The American Tobacco […]Read More >

The Future Is in Commercial Building Materials

When TRP launched some 30 years ago, I didn’t give a thought to commercial building materials. Eleven years later, after deconstructing elaborate sets from the final two Matrix movies, I still don’t remember considering commercial, and the same goes for the 20,000 square-foot commercial building at Northstar Ski Resort, which we completed two years later. […]Read More >

Training Is Busting Out All Over

It almost feels like spring. People are traveling, having picnics, crossing borders, eating out, staying in hotels, building things and even taking training courses in building deconstruction and the salvaging of materials. Seriously, in just the last couple of weeks our training and consulting arm, The ReUse Institute (TRI), has contracted to provide deconstruction workshops […]Read More >

How to Qualify Nonprofit 501(c)3 Donees and Appraisers: Part 3 of 3

The criticality of qualifying deconstruction contractors was explained in the previous installment of this three-part series. Here, I’ll explain why it is just as critical, if not more so, to qualify both the nonprofit organization (donee) and the appraiser in order to claim the highest tax deduction for your salvaged building materials. Nonprofit OrganizationsAny nonprofit […]Read More >

Deconstruction Wins Best All-Around Performance: Part 1 of 3

Donating building materials that have been salvaged through deconstruction is a smart, easy alternative to demolition. Just as when choosing an architect or building contractor, the focus should be on qualifying the candidates. This newsletter addresses the many benefits of deconstruction. The next two issues focus on qualifying deconstruction contractors, appraisers, and the organizations that […]Read More >

Are You Salvaging Lumber Only? Why?

It has been my observation that a bunch of folks involved in building-materials salvage are lumber centric.Ask almost anyone in our business which materials they covet and you will hear something like “Lumber” or “Lumber is what my customers ask for.” I hear this over and over—even from our own employees. But wait, it gets […]Read More >

Deconstruction Serves Both Buyers and Sellers of Real Estate

With the entire country in a bit of a real estate frenzy, houses that are for sale often vanish soon after escrow closes, only to be replaced something entirely new. Here’s a way that both buyers and sellers in such transformations could benefit. The real estate agent is often the first person to recognize that […]Read More >

How to Identify a Competent Deconstruction Contractor

I receive several calls a week from building owners who want information on a variety of topics related to deconstruction and its benefits. Mostly, they ask which contractors are qualified to do deconstruction. While I know of contractors in the cities where TRP has regional associates, I’m at a loss to help owners in other […]Read More >

The Deconstruction Ordinance

Many municipalities are currently considering the adoption of landfill-diversion ordinances requiring deconstruction. The driver of these initiatives is environmental, and they are often promoted by zero-waste organizations. Such ordinances have numerous benefits and beneficiaries. Generally, they … • Relieve overburdened landfills• Provide alternatives to the purchase of new materials for home improvement and construction projects• […]Read More >

Musings of a Lumber Hugger

First, I have to admit that I am not a woodworker, nor do I have a woodshop in my garage. However, I do love wood. I always have. I first appreciated the beauty of wood while admiring sculptures carved by my uncle, Bob Knauer, who, in his sophomore year, placed third in a juried show […]Read More >

Historic Preservation Reset

In a recent news article I read about a magnificent 1854 Greek revival house in the Midwest that had been torn down to make room for a parking lot! Though it was owned by local government, no one, not even the historic preservation commission, was allowed to salvage the building’s artifacts. Instead, this two-story marvel, […]Read More >

The Velvet Crowbar Is Back

TRP hasn’t put out an e-letter (aka The Velvet Crowbar) since June 2018, so I need to start this re-launch with two business updates. First, in case you hadn’t heard, the rumors of my 2018 retirement were greatly exaggerated. Well, okay, the retirement happened but was short-lived. I was back as president of TRP in […]Read More >