In 2019, the Branford Land Trust was given a lovely 3.7-acre property that abutted Young’s Pond Park, increasing the protected open space at this popular preserve. The property came with a handsome, historic barn and shed, both built around 1912 as part of a large gentleman’s farm belonging to Alden M. Young. Young was a successful entrepreneur who, among his other accomplishments, brought electricity and trolley service to Branford.
Though unable to keep and maintain these two buildings, the Land Trust was loath to demolish them due to their attractiveness and historic value. For close to a year, the organization, along with assistance from the New Haven Preservation Trust, tried to find someone to relocate the structures — a painstaking, detailed, and expensive process often costing more than new construction. With no success, the Land Trust turned to Plan B: deconstruction for reuse.
The deconstruction was carried out by the North Haven firm New England Reuse, under the direction of contractor Christian Kling. Carefully, he and his crew dismantled each building, stripping them to their bones, and neatly piling the boards and windows for delivery to their warehouse in North Haven. In the process, they found some pieces that predated the 1912 construction – lumber from 19th century structures that was reused then and would be reused again now!
Within months, 2,000 feet of siding had been sold to a man building an art studio in Hamden. A Washington (CT) resident bought 1,000 feet of siding to match his existing floorboards, circa 1890. All of the barn flooring was sold to a resident in North Stonington, eight of the larger beams were bought by a Northford resident, and some of the rafters became a custom bar top for a residence in Hamden.
“We talk about reducing our carbon footprint with the triangle of Reduce-Recycle-Reuse, but the Reuse tenet is often forgotten,” said BLT President Peter Raymond. “We feel really good about having these materials reused and kept out of the waste stream. There’s a lot of embedded carbon in a building, so putting the materials to re-use is one step towards reducing the carbon footprint. We encourage people to consider this process for their own projects.”
Diana McCarthy-Bercury, the Town of Branford’s Sustainability and Compliance Manager, added, “The sustainable deconstruction of buildings is a simple alternative which gives building materials a chance to be reused. Decommissioning projects, such as this one, help save energy and conserve natural resources that would have otherwise been used to create new materials.”
For more information about deconstruction, please contact the Branford Land Trust, (203) 483-5263, firstname.lastname@example.org