Minnesota county offers grants promoting deconstruction over demolition for older homes and apartments

Olivier Le Moal | Adobe Stock

Hennepin County, Minnesota, has launched a new grant program aimed at keeping old building materials out of landfills, Finance & Commerce reports.

The program, which offers grants up to $5,000 per project to developers and homeowners for prioritizing deconstruction of old structures over demolition, is meant to help defer some of the cost associated with more nuanced and time-consuming deconstruction services.

To be eligible, the structure must be a home or apartment with up to four units built before 1950 and with a renovation area of at least 250 square feet. Moreover, six material types need to be removed to be reused and at least 550 pounds of wood must be salvaged from the project. All non-reusable building materials must be sent to a county-approved C&D recycler.

“Deconstruction involves carefully dismantling the building structure to preserve building materials so they can be reused,” Olivia Cashman, environmental protection specialist with Hennepin County Environment & Energy, told Finance & Commerce. The additional costs of deconstruction “make it a deterrent, so that is where the grant funds come in,” she continued.

The program, which has a $100,000 budget for 2020, has helped defer costs for 12 projects (mostly for home renovations) since being launched in February. Of these projects, six have already been completed. There are still $45,000 in funds available for the remainder of the year.

Cashman says that although no funding has been allocated yet, she hopes the county will be able to expand the program for 2021.

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