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Published on 15th July 2020

Pondering Skies - Episode 6 - Move It or Lose It

Dave Bennink is the director of the Building Deconstruction Institute in Bellingham, Washington, where he and his team specialize in building materials reuse. He is a circular economy professional and an embodied carbon advocate, and is passionate about empowering others to embrace reuse as well.

The Deconstruction Institute explores cutting-edge techniques to advance the building material reuse industry. The reuse of building materials is a way to fight climate change, and part of their mission is to educate others about this process. Their training center is a catalyst for others to start their own independent world-saving reuse business, and part of the Institute’s mission is to prepare and inspire others to incorporate re-use when and wherever possible.

Since 1993, Dave and his team have been working to change the way we look at buildings that are scheduled to be altered or removed from a site. As he puts it, his team views these structures as resources to be harvested instead of liabilities to be landfilled.

Building deconstruction is a sustainable alternative to demolition that is rapidly becoming a mainstream choice for building removal. Dave and his team have deconstructed over 1000 structures ranging from 75 to 75,000 square feet, and they’ve worked in 43 states and 4 Provinces. When they originally started, it took 3 weeks to take down a 2000 square-foot home, but now it may take as little as 3 days. To the Deconstruction Institute, every building is like a "deconstruction lab" in which they can experiment and discover new techniques.

I’ve invited Dave to the show to discuss how and why he got into the re-use field, what he’s learned along the way, and what the future looks like for The Institute. This conversation is particularly timely considering the economic devastation wreaked by the pandemic.

About This Podcast

This show asks the broad question: What does ‘sustainability’ really mean? Finding out is partly what this show is about. Doing the deep dive with each guest, I try to come at the concept from various perspectives.

In this podcast series, I'll take a broad view of the term, as we hear from educators, activists, community organizers, artists, scientists, designers, journalists, and more on what it means to them, and how they - and we - play a part in it.

Dave on the job site. Photo by Andy Bronson
One of the many job sites where Dave and his team apply their expertise.
A piece of furniture crafted from materials saved from one of Dave's jobs. This piece was made by Nicholas Hardrath of Urban Craftsman.
Institute team members hard at work on a job site.

Be sure to check out these links related to this episode:

Building Deconstruction Institute website: http://reuseconsulting.com/Home_Page.php

Reuse Consulting on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ReuseConsulting/

Dave's LinkedIn page: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dave-bennink-9b610a15/

ReUSE Minnesota Virtual Conference: https://reusemn.org/page/2020Conference



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