Project

Circularity, Reuse, and Zero Waste Development (CR0WD)

Goal: Just Places Lab is one of several founding members of CR0WD, along with Historic Ithaca, the Susan Christopherson Center for Community Planning, and the Circular Construction Lab at Cornell University. it is a growing group with expertise in salvage, reuse, and preservation including also leadership from Finger Lakes ReUse, Cortland ReUse, and the Preservation Association of Central New York. CR0WD works with New York State communities to promote sustainability and resilience of the built environment through thoughtful deconstruction that that recognizes the environmental, cultural and economic value of salvage and reuse of building materials and architectural elements.

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Jennifer Minner
added an update
In these photos, Melody Chen and Wyeth Augustine-Marceil presented on behalf of the Just Places Lab and Penny Crispin on behalf of the Susan Christopherson Center for Community Planning on research and creative action on behalf of the CR0WD (Circularity Reuse and Zero Waste Development network.) Felix Heisel and Susan Holland and Christine O'Malley (and I) also spoke about our organizations contributions to CR0WD efforts.
 
Jennifer Minner
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May 11 - October 3, 2022
Deconstructing Demolition: An Exhibition on Salvage, Reuse and Deconstruction
As a part of the CR0WD (Circularity, Reuse and Zero Waste Development) network, the Circular Construction Lab are the Just Places Lab are co-curating the exhibition Deconstructing Demolition. The exhibition will be hosted from May 11 - September 3 2022 in the atrium of the Tompkins Center for History and Culture located at 110 N. Tioga St. in downtown Ithaca, New York.
The exhibition, which features physical building materials, augmented reality video, and an interactive display is intended to introduce a general audience to the negative externalities of extant demolition practices and provide information on alternatives in the form of salvage, reuse and deconstruction. Alternatives to demolition are presented through the lenses of environmental sustainability, preservation of community value, employment opportunity, and a reimagining our relationship to the built environment.
As part of the collective effort to put on the exhibition, Just Places Lab members conducted research, captured video, curated the interactive display, and designed the exhibition poster. The poster was designed by Wyeth Augustine-Marceil (Just Places Lab) with photography and video by Melody Chen (Just Places Lab, Circular Construction Lab) and augmented reality feature by Allexxus Farley-Thomas (Circular Construction Lab).
 
Jennifer Minner
added an update
This is a Cornell Chronicle article focused on the efforts of Felix Heisel and the Circular Construction Lab to demonstrate deconstruction in Ithaca, New York. The effort to deconstruct and salvage in the Catherine Street Deconstruction Project was also led by Diane Cohen of Finger Lakes ReUse. This is one of the exciting ongoing projects being undertaken by Circularity Reuse and Zero Waste Development (CR0WD) partners.
 
Jennifer Minner
added a research item
The concept of circular economy seeks to disrupt the enormous amount of waste generated by a linear system. The system extracts raw materials from the earth to construct the built environment, including its buildings and infrastructure, only for those materials to be dumped into landfills after a relatively short lifespan (Fusco Girard & Nocca, 2019). In a circular system, natural resources and embodied carbon are conserved through prolonging the lifespan of existing building stock through preservation, retrofitting, and repair (Huuhka & Vestergaard, 2019; McCarthy & Glekas, 2019); deconstructing buildings and salvaging usable fixtures and building materials; and transforming new construction through designing with repurposed building materials and for deconstruction (Heisel and Hebel, 2021). There have been growing calls for whole countries, regions and communities to achieve circularity, particularly within Europe and Asia (Kovacic et al., 2019). Within North America, there have been efforts to re-envision local government and private sector systems of demolition with deconstruction, particularly within Vancouver, BC, Canada; in the Bay Area Deconstruction Working Group in California; Portland, Oregon; and New York, NY. However, research into how concepts of circular economy fit within the highly variable and uneven regulatory context of urban planning and historic preservation in North America remain limited. Likewise, there has been limited planning scholarship into how deconstruction efforts might fit into the creation of green jobs and sustainable transformation of construction activity. The Circularity Reuse, and Zero Waste Development (CR0WD) Taskforce developed out of an alliance of community leaders and academics concerned with a vast system of building material waste within New York State. CR0WD seeks to advance sustainability, resilience, and green jobs within the built environment. CR0WD's efforts are aimed at helping communities realize the environmental, cultural and economic benefits of prolonging the lifespan of buildings and reusing building materials and architectural elements through research, education, policy initiatives and design that emphasizes deconstruction, salvage, and preservation. The group is sustained through shared leadership between organizations such as: Historic Ithaca; the Susan Christopherson Center for Community Planning; the Preservation Association of Central New York; Finger Lakes ReUse; the City of Ithaca; as well as other nonprofit and governmental partners; and the research labs the Circular Construction Lab and Just Places Lab at Cornell University.
Jennifer Minner
added an update
Join us at the upcoming Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning focus event on October 7, 2021 (7:20 pm eastern time).
4.100 ROUNDTABLE - BUILDING A BETTER BUILDING POLICY: COMMUNITY COLLABORATION TO ACHIEVE CLIMATE RESILIENCY OF THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT
Abstract ID: 100
Gretchen Worth, Susan Christopherson Center for Community Planning, Cornell University
Jennifer Minner, Associate Professor in the Dept of City and Regional Planning, Just Places Lab
Felix Heisel, Assistant Professor in the Dept of Architecture, Circular Construction Lab
Susan Holland, Executive Director of Historic Ithaca.
Buildings in the United States – our homes and offices, schools and shops – contribute 40 percent of the country’s total carbon emissions. We cannot achieve a carbon-neutral future without addressing our existing building stock, nearly two-thirds of which will also exist in 2050 (Architecture 2030, 2021). Such actions include implementing low-carbon retrofits as well as adopting deconstruction – rather than demolition – as a more sustainable way to address the waste of non-renewable resources such as old-growth wood and other building materials that currently go to landfills (Fraanje, 1997). In addition to positive environmental impacts, such actions can provide socio-economic benefits such as green job creation and enhanced skills training, historic preservation opportunities, and wider availability of valuable building materials (Bertino, 2021). They can help the extractive construction sector move toward a more sustainable circular economy based on maintenance, repair, adaptation and reuse of our built environment (Huuhka, 2019).
However, municipalities cannot rely solely on market mechanisms (such as those found in the real estate sector) to create an environment suitable for thoughtful treatment of the existing built environment and the resulting creation of a circular economy (Hassler, 2009). Instead, legal and institutional interventions are often necessary, such as adoption of local ordinances bolstered by active community education and engagement efforts targeted at building owners and occupants.
With this in mind, university educators and community leaders in central New York have come together to encourage municipal adoption of practices and policies to create a more equitable and resilient built environment.
Through the sharing of research, resources and networks, collaborators are working to promote the adoption of low-carbon retrofits, methods to address building material waste, the development of a circular economy, and the creation of equitable green jobs. The collaboration is focused on four areas: (1) education and community engagement, (2) research and resource development, (3) policy and practice recommendations, (4) equitable green jobs creation and skills training.
Roundtable participants, including two educators and two community leaders in the fields of planning, preservation and architecture, will discuss methods of university-community partnership to involve students and community groups in efforts to strengthen resilience of the built environment. Participants will discuss their experiences working together to promote municipal practices and policies to employ low-carbon retrofits appropriate for historic resources, encourage deconstruction and a circular construction economy, and create racially and socially just green jobs. They will draw on their efforts as members of CR0WD (Circularity, Reuse, Zero Waste Development), a collaborative, multi-disciplinary task force that works with New York State communities to promote sustainability of the built environment.
Citations
• Architecture 2030 (2021). “Why the Building Sector?”
• Bertino, G.; Kisser, J.; Zeilinger, J.; Langergraber, G.; Fischer, T.; Österreicher, D. (2021). “Fundamentals of Building Deconstruction as a Circular Economy Strategy for the Reuse of Construction Materials.” Applied Sciences. 11, 939. doi.org/10.3390/app11030939 • Fraanje, P.J. (1997). “Cascading of Pine Wood,” Resources, Conservation and Recycling. 19, 21–28,
doi:10.1016/S0921-3449(96)01159-7
• Hassler, U. (2009). “Long-term building stock survival and intergenerational management: the role of institutional regimes,” Building Research & Information, 37:5-6, 552-568,
• Huuhka, S., & Vestergaard, I. (2019). “Building Conservation and the Circular Economy: A Theoretical Consideration,” Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development, 10(1), 29-40.
Key Words: built environment, climate resiliency, deconstruction, circular economy, green jobs
 
Jennifer Minner
added an update
Ithaca’s recent effort to create and implement an Energy Code Supplement is a vital step to address our global climate crisis. These policies for new construction will help create more sustainable buildings and a more livable future for us all. But a complementary element is missing as we seek to move along a greener and more sustainable path: We need a plan for construction and demolition debris.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the United States generated 600 million tons of construction and demolition debris in 2018, making it the largest single component of landfill waste (40%). Sadly, the vast majority of construction debris (90%) results from demolition rather than new construction.
If future planning in Ithaca includes demolishing buildings in order to make room for new buildings, then we need to have real policies in place for salvage and deconstruction. We cannot continue the wasteful practice of demolishing existing buildings and sending the waste to the landfill. Far too much is lost in the process, ranging from the energy and materials required for the production and construction of each of these buildings to the economic and ecologic effects of their making. These embodied values need to be considered each time a building is demolished.
It is time to advocate for a local salvage and deconstruction ordinance for Ithaca. Other cities like Palo Alto, CA, and Portland, OR, have created these types of ordinances as a more responsible and sustainable way to address the significant problem of demolition debris. Salvaging doors, windows, floors and fixtures from a building makes good sense, but an additional level of waste diversion should be required. Deconstruction of a building and the recycling and reuse of as much of its building material as possible should be the desired outcome. With such activity comes green job creation and a stable contribution to the local economy.
To move us toward this goal, local efforts are underway to research and collect data to generate a usable deconstruction ordinance for Ithaca. CR0WD – Circularity, Reuse and Zero Waste Development – is a regional group composed of the Circular Construction Lab and the Just Places Lab of Cornell University; Cortland Reuse, Finger Lakes ReUse, Historic Ithaca, the Preservation Association of Central New York, and the Susan Christopherson Center for Community Planning. Working collaboratively, we promote sustainability and resilience in New York State communities, helping them to realize the environmental, cultural and economic benefits of prolonging the lifespan of buildings and reusing building materials and architectural elements.
By creating a local deconstruction ordinance, we will be able to reduce debris and achieve zero waste in a measurable and meaningful way. We’ve made recycling paper, plastics, glass and metal a positive habit. Let’s make the reuse and recycling of building material just as familiar and natural a practice in our community.
- CROWD (Circularity, Reuse and Zero Waste Development)
 
Jennifer Minner
added an update
This feature is about the Circularity, Reuse, and Zero Waste Working Group: https://aap.cornell.edu/.../break-it-down-cr0wd-task...
"CR0WD, a Cornell-powered, community-led task force works with New York State communities to promote thoughtful building deconstruction and highlight the environmental, cultural, and, economic value of salvage, reuse, and closed material flows."
It's great to have the collaborative research and community-based action with Historic Ithaca, the Susan Christopherson Center for Community Planning, the Circular Construction Lab, Preservation Central New York, my Just Places Lab, among others featured! Take a look at all of the research and initiatives we've been up to.... Susan Irene Herlands Holland who leads Historic Ithaca, Cornell CALS '85, and Christine O'Malley should also be mentioned by name here for their tireless work for CR0WD.
 
Jennifer Minner
added an update
Links to video and photos of site visit to church proposed for demolition:
Purpose of site visit to explore opportunities for and barriers to full adaptive reuse, deconstruction, or limited salvage of architectural features and interior fixtures.
 
Jennifer Minner
added a project goal
Just Places Lab is one of several founding members of CR0WD, along with Historic Ithaca, the Susan Christopherson Center for Community Planning, and the Circular Construction Lab at Cornell University. it is a growing group with expertise in salvage, reuse, and preservation including also leadership from Finger Lakes ReUse, Cortland ReUse, and the Preservation Association of Central New York. CR0WD works with New York State communities to promote sustainability and resilience of the built environment through thoughtful deconstruction that that recognizes the environmental, cultural and economic value of salvage and reuse of building materials and architectural elements.