The New Green in New Orleans

Rebuilding Together New Orleans (RTNO) and its Deconstruction and Salvage Program are working toward creating a new kind of “green cycle” in New Orleans.

The Deconstruction and Salvage Program performs selective salvage and full deconstruction of blighted New Orleans homes to preserve doors, windows, flooring, and other architectural elements that would otherwise end up in landfills. These salvaged materials are then made available to the public for purchase through the Preservation Salvage Store, creating a green cycle of reuse.

Since its creation, the Deconstruction and Salvage Program has completed 124 selective salvage projects and two full deconstructions. The materials salvaged from these projects have generated over $10,000 of local and state tax revenue through their sale in the Preservation Salvage Store — the proceeds of which go back into the RTNO warehouse to help sustain their operations of rebuilding homes for low-income residents affected by Hurricane Katrina and Rita. All of the programs of the Preservation Resource Center (PRC) utilize these reclaimed materials in their rebuilding operations, allowing for the organizations to rely less on purchasing new building materials.

“Nearly five years after Katrina, New Orleans has made great strides through the work of hundreds of government, private, non-profit, and personal neighbor-to-neighbor efforts to rebuild the city,” said Sean Vissar, Deconstruction and Salvage Program Manager. “Despite the massive amount of work that has been done, the issue of blight still permeates the city — but programs like the RTNO Deconstruction and Salvage Program offer alternative possibilities.”

Beyond being “green”, the program also helps preserve the unique architectural elements of historic New Orleans homes and reduces the amount of urban blight. According to the Greater New Orleans Community Data Center website, there are approximately 60,000 blighted or vacant homes in the greater New Orleans area, more than any other city in the nation. These residences are being reviewed for demolition one-by-one by the city, demolished by the will of property owners who have moved on, or taken over by the state as it continues to move forward in the rebuilding process.

All of this demolition accumulates into hundreds of thousands of tons of waste. It is estimated that 50 million cubic yards of waste was generated in Louisiana alone by the wreckage left behind by the flooding. In all, one day’s destruction created enough trash to fill three landfills.

This Earth Day as you are thinking about more ways to be environmentally friendly, consider recycling architecture with RTNO’s Deconstruction and Salvage program and the Preservation Salvage Store.

The Preservation Salvage Store can be found at 2801 Marais Street (the big yellow warehouse) — click here for directions.

For more information on the RTNO Deconstruction and Salvage Program, call 504.388.0171 or visit the website.

MEDIA CONTACTS: Lynn Long / L2Media & Marketing (504.669.0576 / [email protected]) or Katrina Arnold (504.636.3386 / [email protected])

About Rebuilding Together New Orleans
Rebuilding Together New Orleans, a local affiliate of Rebuilding Together, Inc. has restored and revitalized more than 1,200 homes over the past 22 years in the New Orleans area. Utilizing volunteer labor, Rebuilding Together New Orleans allows low-income families in communities across the city to live in comfort, safety, and dignity. Rebuilding Together New Orleans is a program of the Preservation Resource Center, an organization devoted to promoting the preservation, restoration, and revitalization of New Orleans’ historic architecture and neighborhoods. For more information, visit www.RTNO.org.

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