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Laguna Beach, California 

The Deconstruction and ReUse Network (DRN) is an organization that educates and enables homeowners, building professionals and civic leaders to adopt the practice of deconstruction as a powerful strategy of green building.

Deconstruction is the careful dismantling and reclaiming of a structure's reusable finished materials and rough lumber. Reuse conserves resources and diverts construction and demolition materials from landfills. DRN works hard to match the interests of social and environmental change with those of businesses, government and citizens, and for-profit building professionals. The organization strongly supports the green building movement by advancing the general environmental principal of "reduce, reuse and recycle."

DRN was founded in 2007. Having worked in the deconstruction industry, its founder recognized that homeowners needed more user-friendly programs available to them if they were going to choose deconstruction over demolition.

A non-profit environmental and humanitarian public benefit corporation, DRN connects homeowners considering demolition with specialized deconstruction contractors and worthy charitable organizations to which the recovered building materials are gifted. A crucial aspect of the assistance provided is DRN’s estimating the premium cost of deconstruction (vs. demolition) and calculating the tax deduction that the building owner will receive by gifting the materials to charity. If the deconstruction works financially and proceeds, DRN will assist with the required appraisals and paperwork.

DRN partners with complimentary nonprofits, namely Habitat for Humanity and Corazon. Reclaimed materials, such as windows, doors, and lumber are gifted to Habitat for Humanity and are either reused or resold into the community through Habitat ReStores. Similarly, raw building materials are gifted to Corazon, a ministry that builds homes in Baja California.

Deconstruction will salvage doors, windows, cabinets, plumbing fixtures, chandeliers and light fixtures, mechanical equipment and appliances, and framing lumber.

Deconstruction works for remodeling as well as total demolition. Recently, a home scheduled for complete interior renovation yielded beautiful French doors, brand-name fixtures and dual-pane windows.

Homeowners are not the only source for reused or surplus building materials. The Miramar Hotel in Montecito, CA, -- a beloved landmark since the early 1900’s, known for its signature blue roof tiles, donated over 200,000 square feet – 12 trailer-truck loads – of surplus tiles to DRN Today, those famous blue shingles are getting a second life. They brighten up the affordable homes and community centers built by Corazon, as well as provide funding for Habitat for Humanity homes and the advancement of deconstruction & reuse practices in Santa Barbara and Southern California.

Deconstruction Solution Cost Comparison

Here is an example of the cost /benefit differential when comparing demolition and deconstruction. Figures below are averages for a typical 2,200 sq. ft. California Bay Area project.
DRN Chart

Deconstruction and reuse of building materials can save money and preserve natural resources. Almost all buildings have good reusable materials, but early planning is key. With sufficient time and a proper network of knowledgeable and trained advisors and contractors, any building owner considering renovation or demolition can choose the path of deconstruction – profitable, charitable, and environmentally conscious.

The Deconstruction and Reuse network shows that green building is not only design and construction, but also people working for change for a better world!