Architect Bob Borson writes about deconstruction on his website  He says deconstruction is an environmentally friendly alternative to demolition, and compares the benefits and costs for both.

He says: “To compare the difference between demolition versus deconstruction is pretty simple:

Demolition = shut down/ disconnect utilities, smash everything down, haul off to the dump

Deconstruction = Tcrews carefully deconstruct the building to salvage as many of the reusable materials as possible, diverting them from local landfills. Salvaged items typically include doors, windows, cabinets, lighting and plumbing fixtures, framing lumber, roofing materials, and flooring.

So what are the advantages to deconstruction? For most people, it starts and ends with the bottom line – the $$$. On average, the cost to demolish a house is about 1/2 as much as it is to deconstruction a house (i.e. $15,000 for demolition vs. $30,000 for deconstruction.) Let me guess what you’re thinking – “why would I pay twice as much to deconstruct my house rather than just demolish it?!?”

Two words – Tax. Deduction.

It should come as no surprise that the value of your “used building material” donation could be substantial. I would even go so far as to suggest that it is typically large enough to pay for the costs of deconstruction. In a worst case scenario – from a cash out-of-pocket standpoint – being able to donate building materials from your house which could offset the cost of your demolition (regardless of how small it may be) makes deconstruction something to consider. Beyond the worst case scenario, your material donation could greatly exceed the costs of your deconstruction, making the process a positive cash flow solution.”

If you would like to read more, you can find his full article here.