The City of Vancouver has approved an expansion of the existing green demolition requirements from pre-1940 homes to include pre-1950 homes and approved funding to support the creation of a Deconstruction Hub.
Pre-1940 homes currently represent roughly 40 per cent of residential demolitions in Vancouver. The shift to pre-1950 homes will increase that to 70 per cent. The amendments will also require deconstruction — a more careful approach to taking down houses in order to salvage more materials — for pre-1910 homes and heritage-listed homes built before 1950.
To date, most of the materials that have been diverted have been recycled rather than reused. Recycling is not necessarily the best use for all materials, particularly from historic homes. To address this challenge and support deconstruction efforts, the city also approved funding to support the creation of an independently operated Deconstruction Hub, which will help advance the local market for restoring, upcycling and selling salvaged materials, including architectural details and salvaged old-growth wood.
Since its adoption in June 2014, the Green Demolition Bylaw has diverted nearly 40,000 tonnes (roughly 10,000 tonnes per year) of demolition waste from the landfill and incinerator. The average diversion rate for pre-1940 homes has been 86 per cent, which is significantly higher than the typical rate of 40-50 per cent for traditional residential demolitions.
The Green Demolition Bylaw supports the city’s Heritage Action Plan and Zero Waste 2040 and the Greenest City Action Plan, and aims to encourage preservation and renewal of character homes, increase reuse of demolition materials, and generally reduce the amount of construction and demolition waste disposed to landfill and incinerator.
The proposed Green Demolition Bylaw amendments will be effective January 1, 2019.