Jack Williams and his wife, Jane York, spent 28 years in a 1950s ranch house in Leawood, Kan. When they decided to remodel and add an addition, they learned that their house's unstable foundation meant they would have to remove the house and start over on the site.
Mr. Williams had watched the demolition of a neighborhood house and regretted seeing still-useful material going to the dump.
"I'm driven by conservation because I hate to see stuff wasted," says Williams, a retired electrical engineer.
Working with the local Habitat for Humanity office, they found a certified deconstruction appraiser in Denver who traveled to Kansas to evaluate their home's materials. A local builder undertook the three-month deconstruction.
Williams and Ms. York ultimately donated or reused 82 percent of their home's materials, Williams estimates – everything except the insulation and drywall.
Appliances and other materials were hauled off to Habitat ReStore, a nonprofit reuse store affiliated with Habitat for Humanity. Scrap lumber was chipped into mulch. The foundation, driveway, and chimney were crushed onsite, becoming backfill around the new foundation.