Salvage, also called non-structural deconstruction, reclaims high-value materials from buildings prior to demolition. Cabinetry, appliances, lighting and plumbing fixtures, hardwood flooring are a few examples of materials that can be salvaged. It gives a second life to materials and leads to new job and economic opportunities.
Case in point
Better Futures deconstructs homes and buildings while providing training and opportunities to high-risk adults.
Homeowners in Chaska contracted with Better Futures to salvage materials out of their newly purchased home before major renovations and demolition began.
A typical 2000 square feet house requires one crew chief, about six workers and 14 days to fully deconstruct and process the materials onsite.
Because the Chaska home was already scheduled for demolition, Better Futures faced a tight deadline to dismantle and reclaim materials. A six member team was able to successfully salvage lighting fixtures, windows, doors, hardware and cabinetry in less than 10 days.
In addition to the on-site training for Better Futures employees, it afforded the homeowners a $20,000 tax break as the salvaged materials are treated as a donation through Better Futures.
In 2014, Better Futures deconstructed seven structures that resulted in an impressive 92-97 recycling rate.
Why salvage before demolition
Salvaging materials has many economic and environmental benefits.
- Reduced dumpster and landfill tipping fees
- Possible tax deductions on donated materials
- Revenue from sales of salvaged materials
- Reused materials qualifies for LEED credits in new structures
- Training opportunities
- Reduced greenhouse gases
Things to consider
- Takes time to complete a project
- Labor intensive
- Demand for materials and products
- Lack of public policies to support salvage practice or track progress
Local salvage and reuse firms
- Better Futures, Minneapolis
- Big Wood Timber Frames, St. Paul
- Duluth Timber, Duluth
- Lloyds Construction, Savage
- Signature Woods, Zumbrota
- Bauer Brothers Salvage, Minneapolis
- City Salvage, Minneapolis
- Guilded Salvage, Minneapolis
- North Shore Architectural Antiques, Two Harbors
- Habitat for Humanity of Douglas County, Alexandria
- Habitat for Humanity Freeborn/Mower, Austin
- Northwoods Habitat for Humanity, Bemidji
- Lakes Area Habitat for Humanity, Brainerd
- Itasca County Habitat for Humanity, Grand Rapids
- Habitat for Humanity of South Central Minnesota, Mankato
- Habitat for Humanity Restore, Marshall
- Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity ReStore, New Brighton
- Habitat for Humanity, Rochester
- Central Minnesota Habitat for Humanity ReStore, Saint Cloud
- Western Lake Superior Habitat for Humanity, Superior, WI
- Habitat for Humanity, Willmar
- Habitat for Humanity Winona-Fillmore Counties, Winona