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Demolished house provides materials for future building

Aspen Times Staff Report

Deconstruction and recycling of a Red Mountain house will benefit the environment, and it will benefit Challenge Aspen as well.

The house is being taken apart piece by piece rather than demolished, to save the building materials to be used over again. The proceeds from sale of the materials will benefit two nonprofit groups, and the process will save space in the Pitkin County landfill, where demolition debris is ordinarily taken.

The deconstruction is being done by Wodehouse Builders of Telluride, a company which recently established an Aspen branch office last year. Building materials from the house will be available at a sale in Silt, said A. J. Thompson, a manager for Wodehouse.

Resource 2000, a Boulder nonprofit organization, is handling the resale of the materials, and along with Challenge Aspen, will benefit from the proceeds. The sale is scheduled to take place at Big-R Commercial Park on Colorado Highway 6 between Silt and Rifle on Dec. 2-4 and Dec. 8-11.

Challenge Aspen will get a check for about 40 percent of the proceeds when all the materials are sold, Thompson said. Challenge Aspen provides recreational and cultural experiences for individuals with physical or mental disabilities, organizing a ski program, rock climbing for the blind, an art camp at Anderson Ranch, and cross country ski and snowshoe opportunities.

“It’s probably one of the most unique donations we’ve had,” said Houston Cowan, co-founder and executive director of Challenge Aspen. “It says a lot about the owners,” he continued.

The house, which belongs to Elyse and Bob Blechman of Poquott, N.Y., is being taken down to make way for a new house. Components that will be sold include electrical fixtures, cherry wood, double-pane windows, flooring and cedar siding.

Kurt Buss, program manager for Resource 2000, said Wodehouse is doing an excellent job of recovering the materials. “I’d describe it as a success because they’re taking the time to do this,” Buss said.

Wodehouse contacted his group, Buss said, because no similar group exists in the Roaring Fork Valley. Resource 2000 arranged the deconstruction and recycling of the Aspen Skiing Co.’s Sundeck restaurant at the top of Aspen Mountain earlier this year. Buss said he hopes a similar group will soon form in the valley to fill the void.

“Our interest is to see a program like ours establish itself in the Roaring Fork Valley,” he said. “There’s a lot of good building materials going out to the Pitkin County landfill.”

Some of the materials from the house will go to the sale in Silt, along with materials from another deconstruction project. Resource 2000 has also hauled some materials to Boulder, having found buyers already.

Buss said he’s been working with Stephen Kanipe, Aspen and Pitkin County’s head building official, to make arrangements for the project and others like it. He said Kanipe’s department is reworking building codes, making it easier to employ recycled lumber, which is actually better in some respects than new lumber.

Framing lumber purchased today is lower in quality and strength than older Douglas fir rafters and joists, Buss said. And a construction company might have to throw out 25 percent of the new studs it buys now because they are too knotty and warped. The new lumber is often quick-grown on tree farms and has a high moisture content, he said.


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