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Circularity in the Built Environment: New Course Outlines How to Turn Construction and Demolition Waste into Local Resources  
Construction Junction. Image by Terry Wiles, 2019

In architecture and construction, there is increasingly a focus on embodied carbon, the lifecycle of materials, and supporting community resilience. Maximizing the reuse of building materials has never been more important.

Construction and demolition waste is the largest single-stream source of refuse in the United States, more than double the amount thrown into household trash bins. It's estimated that we will double our total building stock over the next 40 years, while 1/3rd of our present buildings will be demolished in the next 30 years. 

The materials of these buildings have economic, environmental, and social value. All over the country, this "waste" is being turned into resources to reduce further resource extraction and support local communities facing under-employment and disinvestment. Through the process of deconstruction – rather than demolition – structures can be taken down in a way that maximizes their reusability.
 
Entering a reconstruction zone: Construction Junction in the 'Burgh. Image by Susan Ross, 2019.

C&D: Recycling, Deconstruction, Salvage, & Reuse

GreenEducation.US Course
Instructor: Mike Gable, Executive Director of Construction Junction and Board Chair of Build Reuse
$29, Tuesday, April 20, 10:00 -11:30 Pacific

On April 20th, join this live, virtual class that will cover different types of waste within the construction & demolition industries, marketplaces for the reuse of building materials, and how to capture material before it enters the waste stream. Hear Mike share best practices in the reuse of construction materials through the deconstruction of residential and commercial buildings.

Learn More & Register


Mike Gable is the Executive Director of Construction Junction, Western Pennsylvania’s first nonprofit organization to collect and sell used and surplus building materials. In partnership with the Trade Institute of Pittsburgh and the Urban Design Build Studio of the Carnegie Mellon University School of Architecture, Construction Junction also hosts Project RE_ , which introduces new constituencies to the reuse movement and jobs within the industry.

                                   

"It all started in 5th grade..."

Meet Mike Gable, Executive Director, Construction Junction, Pittsburgh, PA  

When I was in the 5th grade I started the Pollution Club — no not to create pollution but to pick up litter. I am not certain if it was the 1970 “crying Indianad with the dramatic voice over “people start pollution, people can stop it” or how my Dad, with his own dramatic voice over, would rant about people throwing their trash on the street that inspired me to get a group of my friends together and weekly pick up trash near the creek that ran through the neighborhood golf course. Dues were .10 cents. I guess I have continued in nonprofit work ever since… 

Fast forward to 1999. After a stint managing an organic farm for the Pittsburgh Food Bank, I was hired by the Pennsylvania Resources Council to help launch an idea for a nonprofit used and surplus building material reuse retailer called Construction Junction, CJ. It was the first operation of its kind in Pittsburgh. Over the next 22 years, I have been fortunate to help grow this organization into a $2+ million a year operation with a staff of 30. We have won two Goodwill Power of Work awards for our job training programs for clients with disabilities processing used building materials. Our deconstruction program works with a job training program that provides work experience for people with barriers to employment.
 
Construction Junction, Pittsburgh, PA. Image by Susan Ross, 2019.

In 2015, CJ began a partnership with the Urban Design Build Studio, formerly in the CMU School of Architecture and now at the University of Arkansas and the Trade Institute of Pittsburgh. This project linked architecture students with used building materials and formerly incarcerated individuals to construct community projects. CJ has also developed an inventory tracking platform called Reuse Retail that connects donor management, bar coding of inventory, a POS system, and web posting through an app.
 
I look forward to sharing my perspectives on reuse of building materials and how we prioritize this activity through policies, incentives, partnerships, and technology. I have a BA in Environmental Studies from UC Santa Barbara. I am currently the Board Chair of Build Reuse, a board member of the Pennsylvania Resources Council, and a member of AIA Pittsburgh’s Committee on the Environment — COTE. 
Learn More & Register

Learn More: Certification in Sustainable Resource Management Program by GreenEducation.US


Professional education for those committed to the pursuit of Zero Waste + Sustainability

The CSRMP from GreenEducation.US will help harness the power of your passions for sustainable resource management. Enrolling now for summer session. Early registration and scholarships available. For more information on program content and how to enroll, contact enroll@greeneducation.us.
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