According to the Wall Street Journal, more and more homeowners are starting to view and use deconstruction for both the tax benefits and the growing “green” trend here in the US. Below are some quotes from the article, but you can read the full article at the WSJ website.

“Deconstruction is a growing trend, as more homeowners try to avoid the wrecking ball when they remodel or tear down and instead find a way to reuse everything from doors to windows to light switches. Spurring the movement is growing awareness of “green” building, as well as more laws restricting the dumping of building materials into landfills. It doesn’t hurt that there’s typically a big fat tax break attached, either.

While the tax break has been around for decades, deconstruction had mostly occurred in fits and starts in pockets across the country, including a wave in the 1990s. This current surge is centered in wealthy enclaves along the West Coast, in areas such as Silicon Valley and cities including San Diego, Los Angeles, Portland, Ore., and Seattle. Many of those locales share a distinctive set of features: populations with eco-friendly mind-sets; an older housing stock ripe for tear downs; strict environmental laws and moneyed residents eager for a substantial tax credit.

After a home is disassembled, the building materials typically go to nonprofit building centers, which aggregate the goods and then sell them to nonprofits and directly to the public. At least several West Coast metropolitan areas, including the San Francisco Bay area and Portland, have such centers, like the ReUse People in Oakland, Calif. and the Rebuilding Center in Portland. Owners or their contractors bring the materials to the centers, which confirm receipt. Ms. Weiss says that she followed the trail of what happened to the roof barrel tiles from her home and found that they eventually were procured by the Habitat for Humanity East Bay/Silicon Valley in Oakland.

Habitat for Humanity East Bay/Silicon Valley says it aims to use deconstructed materials in the homes it builds, and that it also resells used building materials, which nets the organization $250,000 a year. Bryan Kilgore, a procurement coordinator at the nonprofit, says he later sold the Weisses’ roof barrel tiles to a contractor in Concord, Calif.

Deconstructions may not initially appear to offer much of a financial or time advantage over demolition. In 2010, Adrienne Leigh and her husband bought a nearly $900,000 home to tear down in Burlingame, Calif., as part of their decision to downsize as their sons grew older. When Ms. Leigh priced out a straightforward “smash and haul” demolition, she got bids for around $12,000 for what would be a one-week job. A deconstruction, she discovered, would cost $25,000 and take at least two weeks.

But Ms. Leigh decided to do a deconstruction after further calculation—and she was rewarded when the materials from the deconstruction translated to a $34,000 tax benefit. “It was more men and took two weeks instead of one,” says the 56 year old. “But I still came out ahead by $10,000.” Ms. Leigh and her husband last month moved into their newly rebuilt 2,770-square-foot Normandy-style home.

Some cities are now aiming to incentivize homeowners to try deconstruction. In Palo Alto, homeowners don’t need to wait for a building permit to be approved before they can proceed with a deconstruction, whereas they must obtain a permit before moving ahead with a regular demolition. The city’s ordinances now also require that 90% of “inert debris” such as asphalt and concrete from a construction project, plus 80% of the remaining construction and demolition debris such as metal and wood, be diverted away from landfills, says Scott McKay, an associate planner in the Palo Alto Department of Planning.”

You can read the full article by going to The Demolition Discount by Pui-Wing Tam – Updated Dec. 21, 2012