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New Haven Takes Another Step Forward in Creating a Sustainable Environment

ShorelinePlus; Stamford, CT; June 23, 2010

By City of New Haven

The City of New Haven Office of Economic Development announced the launch of the State’s first Contractor Deconstruction Training Program The program runs from June 14-27. Deconstruction is a relatively recent practice in which buildings are carefully dismantled to salvage components for reuse and recycling. Benefits of this practice include reducing the amount of construction and demolition waste going to landfills, conserving resources through recycling, generating products from salvage and creating jobs.

Instead of demolishing a structure in the traditional way, the Office of Economic Development decided to use this as an opportunity to grow the skill set of the city’s small contractor businesses. This program will grow contractor skills by teaching contractors the skills needed to identify materials for reuse and recycling and by instructing them on how to remove these materials from the building to be demolished.

The site component of this training is taking place at a City-owned property at 183 Saltonstall Avenue in the Fair Haven neighborhood. Deconstruction on the house started June 15 and will be completed June 28.

“We need to shift away from a "throwaway society," said Mayor John DeStefano Jr. “New Haven businesses need to be prepared for the future. We need to rethink how we do busines, how we minimize energy consumption and how we can be ready for business opportunites in this new green economy."

“Eighteen different contractors from the New Haven area will participate in this two-week deconstruction project. This project includes a combination of classroom and field training to learn first-hand the step-by-step approach used to deconstruct a home,” said Lillia Synder, Project Director for the City’s Small Construction Business Development Program.

"In addition to building contractor skills, another goal of this program is to make at least 50% of the materials from the building (wood, concrete, brick, asphalt shingles, fixtures, windows, etc.) available for reuse in other construction and remodeling projects, for recycling purposes and out of landfills," said the City’s Economic Development Adminstrator Kelly Murphy. "This is just another way in which the City is meeting its sustainability goals."

Estimates vary, but a commonly accepted estimate is that between 15% and 20% of municipal solid waste comes from construction and demolition projects. Municipal landfills accepting Construction & Demolition (C & D) waste have limited capacity. Many have already closed or are scheduled to close, with the majority of C & D being hauled to out of state landfills, raising construction costs in our region.

The Reuse People, a California-based non-profit organization with a regional office in Hamden, Conn. is leading the training. Abcon Environmental, a New Haven-based company, has donated its services to this project and will remove and dispose of the asbestos shingles on the property where this program will be executed. MGM Carting and Recycling Corporation, a West Haven-based company and a graduate of the City’s Build Green training program has donated the dumpsters and hauling of the other resulting materials.

This project is the result of a collaborative effort between the New Haven Small Construction Business Development within the Office of Economic Development, New Haven Regional Contractors’ Alliance, Work Force A lliance and the Northeast Recycling Council.

Funding for this project is provided by Work Force Alliance through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. “Workforce Alliance is happy to partner with and be a financial supporter of emerging job skills that are good for both the environment and the future work force,” said William Villano, Executive Director of the Workforce Alliance.

To learn more about this and other Small Construction Business Development Programs, please contact Lil Snyder at or (203)-946-6550 or visit the website at