On July 30th, 2008, we demolished the 92-year-old house at ####- ## Avenue.

The awesome power of the trackhoe was immediately apparent, as it effortlessly tore through the front wall of the house. Given that we can dispose of such a huge (historically speaking) building in such a short time, it's going to be a while before it becomes worth it properly recycling these buildings. Hmmm, should we spend 300 person hours and very little fuel taking this house apart, or should we spend 15 person hours and burn off 300 litres of diesel? It's a no-brainer, really. 

Not to get all political on you are anything, but that's why a carbon tax like the one proposed by Stephane Dion is such a great thing. It would make the human labour in the above question cheaper, and the diesel fuel more expensive (okay, not in Dion's version, but a true carbon tax would affect diesel and gas). Then, the weeks of effort that I put into saving the materials in the house would make more economic sense.

Here are some more pictures of the trackhoe doing in two hours what I couldn't do in two months:

Sad to see the old girl go, really. A lot of memories were made there. We just don't have the luxury of keeping her going though. Not anymore.

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I was wondering how much it cost you to demo the house. We might be looking at doing the same to our old house (sniff, sniff)

Hi there Conrad, I am in the early stages of my Environmental Design (architecture, interior environments, landscape architecture, city planning) degree and I happen to be writing a paper on your project for an ecology I have been reading all about it and I am quite inspired! So much so that just emailed a green design/builder to ask about summer employment :)

I have some questions about demolition. (I have no idea about this stuff yet, but it is the sort of thing I plan to do in practice eventually.) I know you salvaged a lot of stuff from the old house, and I see that it took you a huge amount of time, but I am wondering if more was possible? Not as a criticism, but as a query about just how much potential there is in demolition projects.

In an ideal situation where time/labour/cost were not issues, could this entire house have been salvaged with close to zero waste? Is there reuse/recycle potential in insulation, drywall or plaster, linoleum, nails, siding, window frames,shingles, fascia, soffits, etc.? And I'm even talking stuff that's not necessarily in a condition to just shine up and reuse/reinstall. I'm talking about stuff that may be damaged or completely there any productive way at all to prevent these from going to the landfill?

Hi Jolene,

I answered your question right here.

Thanks for asking!


I too am interested in the cost associated with the tear down?. Looking to do the same

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