Letter from Susan Holland: May 2022
May is National Preservation Month and I’d like to reiterate that preservation is a sustainable discipline. Historic Ithaca continues to look at all the intersections in the environmental discourse, including how buildings play into each part of the conversation. New York State has issued a Scoping Plan to implement the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA/Climate Act) and is asking the public to comment on its contents.
Remarkably, buildings do not figure heavily in the Scoping Plan nor does waste diversion of construction and demolition debris. One of our CR0WD (Circularity, Reuse, Zero Waste Development) partners, the Susan Christopherson Center for Community Planning, and our local working group created a public comment guide with all the information you will need need to submit comments on the CLCPA/Climate Act draft. Comments are due to NYS by June 10th, 2022.
Helpful information for the guide:
The Key Points/supporting bullet points are edited so they fit, in their entirety, in the limited online comment box. Simply cut and paste Key Points 1-3.
Please feel free to distribute to your networks.
As long as the commenter has a NYS address, that person is eligible to submit comments online.
Please also share widely with others. As has been noted: QUANTITY of comments is important.
Having input to the Scoping Plan is extremely important because building waste, also known as construction and demolition debris (CDD) is the country’s largest waste stream. It is twice the amount of municipal solid waste (MSW), our daily household garbage.* More than 90 percent of CDD results from demolition, little of which is reused or recycled. As a result, CDD is the largest single component of US landfills.** Yet upward of 80 percent of building materials can be reused.***
Diverting this waste stream from landfills and reusing building materials can result in significant environmental, economic and social benefit. Reuse of building materials:
Retains the embodied carbon associated with the extraction, transportation, manufacturing of the original raw materials, and reduces the need for further resource extraction
Reduces air, land, water pollution at demolition sites and in areas with landfills
Creates green jobs
Recaptures the value of materials to stimulate the local economy
Preserves history and culture through reclaiming the materials and honoring their craftsmanship and stories
CR0WD partners also have created an amazing exhibit for the atrium at the Tompkins Center for History and Culture, aptly named “Deconstructing Demolition.” I encourage you to view the exhibition regarding this timely topic and learn more about this subject matter. It will be on view until September 2, 2022.
Of course, HI advocates for adaptive reuse but a host of factors locally sometimes affect that solution, and salvage, reuse, and waste diversion become the next steps in keeping our culture heritage conserved rather than in a landfill. Thank you for your continued support of us and our retail salvage and reuse store, Significant Elements, by preserving your property and by advocating to save our historic fabric. There’s so much more to be done. Please comment and support Historic Ithaca’s efforts to impact the climate crisis on a state and federal level.
* Advancing Sustainable Materials Management 2018 Fact Sheet, EPA, December 2020
** Advancing Sustainable Materials Management 2018 Fact Sheet, EPA, December 2020
*** Treasure in the Walls, Place Economics, February 2021