The Craig Fahle Show

Deconstructing A Better Detroit

At the Warm Training Center in Southwest Detroit, Chris Rutherford and James Willer are teaching the fundamentals of a process they believe could rebuild Detroit's workforce and strengthen its battle against blight. Their solution: Why demolish when you could deconstruct and re-purpose the remains of ruin into a job creation tool?

Detroit is besieged with at least 60,000 reasons to consider the question. That is the number of abandoned homes and buildings around the city, depending on who’s counting. “The rafters of an old house, the floor joists, the studs the decking, all of the structural elements,’’ says Chris Rutherford, “ that’s a market for conservation and job creation.’’ Rutherford heads training and programing for the WARM Training Center in Southwest Detroit, a nonprofit specializes in energy efficiency education for communities. “By the truckloads, these materials, are going to landfills everyday, crushed into splinters. Senseless.’’

Deconstruction is exactly as it sounds: a brick-by-brick, plank-by-plank dismantling of buildings and homes, all for the sake of preserving reusable materials and of rebuilding a skilled workforce.By design, deconstruction is more labor intensive than deploying a bulldozer.

“With demolition, we’ll have a guy with excavator or a bulldozer come in and take the house down,’’ said James Willer, who leads deconstruction site projects for WARM. “Another guy stands around and sprays water on the house while it’s being removed. They’re not separating out materials, looking at options for recycling. All of that material just goes into the landfill and there it sits.’’

Learn more here.