Deconstructing Cedariver

Deconstructing Cedariver

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Interested in the results? Visit Cedariver in Millis for a walk on the gentle one mile loop.

Find vintage materials for your own renovation project at Northeast Salvage.

See similar sustainable practices at The Bullitt Reservation project.

Throughout last fall, The Trustees slowly but steadily “deconstructed” two buildings at our Cedariver reservation in Millis.

Throughout last fall, The Trustees slowly but steadily “deconstructed” two buildings at our Cedariver reservation in Millis. This “green” demolition resulted in the harvesting of nearly 135 tons of debris – more than 75 percent of which has been salvaged, sold, reused, and recycled rather than ending up in a landfill. That’s good for the environment, and good for The Trustees as we work to reduce our organizational carbon footprint to zero by 2017.

Eric Neville and Mark Parker of Northeast Salvage Company, which specializes in green deconstruction and salvage, led the effort to carefully dismantle the two buildings – a two-story, 4,040-square-foot home and adjacent garage – piece by piece and document the salvaged materials’ reuse. The process not only fulfilled the United States Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) best practices procedures but also adheres to existing statewide landfill laws.

The Trustees are preserving the original Baker house on the reservation, which was the home of the former owners, who generously donated Cedariver in 2007.

Many of the original materials used to build older homes are of higher quality than standard materials produced today – fir beams and flooring, woodwork, and trim – and are in high demand by homeowners, builders and contractors. Materials from the deconstruction that have been resold range from parts and pieces – the shower door and mantel – to entire rooms – the den and kitchen – to the entire garage structure. And, in a melding of old-school workmanship and high-tech business, it was all done through Craigslist and Northeast Salvage’s website,

This isn’t the first time that The Trustees have called on Northeast Salvage to help us with “green” demolition. They also deconstructed and recycled a 1,400-square-foot house and 600-square-foot garage, as well as a nearby 2,000-square-foot dwelling and adjacent 700-square-foot barn, at Moose Hill Farm in Sharon.

It’s our hope that the Cedariver deconstruction will increase awareness of sustainable building and deconstruction options, as well as local interest in the availability of high-quality, salvaged building materials. “We understand that in order to educate and influence the community to reduce their own carbon footprint, we must lead by example by being as green as possible in all that we do,” says Mike Francis, Superintendent for the Charles River Valley Management Unit. “Only then can we demonstrate to others the techniques, behaviors, and changes that will help move our planet towards a more sustainable future.”