greenGoat offers environmental approach to construction

It is a signature activity around Wellesley; the demolition, reconstruction, and renovation of homes is constantly occurring left and right throughout town.  This inherently poses a plethora of environmental risks, leaving many residents to wonder how they can best prevent unnecessary damage done by increased material waste and usage in the midst of construction.  Luckily for conscientious homeowners and builders, organizations like greenGoat provide a solution to this dilemma.

Specializing in residential demolition but offering their services for any project, greenGoat saves building materials that are often discarded but can be reused in the construction process.  The organization, a registered 501(c)(3), partners with general contractors, architects, demolition companies, and waste removal firms to redistribute recyclable or reusable material to other building projects.

Amy Bauman, the founder of greenGoat, has been a lifelong devotee of sustainability.  “I grew up in a household where waste was a dirty word, and I guess it stuck with me,” she said.  Bauman, always looking for ways to reduce waste, saw building materials as an area for sustainable improvement.  “The spark came during a renovation on my own house,” she said.  “I was truly appalled at how many useful things were dismissed to the dumpster.”

Many construction materials can be reused, and greenGoat collects a wide variety of items, including sinks, mantles, flooring and water heaters.  The organization also recently began saving landscaping waste, and is constantly expanding the list of materials it collects.  Rather than throwing these items away, greenGoat sells them on the secondary market to reduce waste and landfill usage.

In addition to residential projects, greenGoat has provided recovery services at events like the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston and has also assisted local school districts, such as Woburn, in sustainably carrying out school building renovation projects.  The organization also runs reclamation events, such as the “Sample Drop and Shop” at the Boston Design Center, where architects drop off old interior design samples which are repurposed by local non-profits, art teachers, or even sculptors looking for materials.

Yet Bauman still considers the heart of greenGoat’s mission to be oriented toward residential projects.  “Commercial development certainly wastes a lot, but we have focused our services on residential demolition, which offers variety, a certain ‘organic’ boots-on-the-ground relationship to the materials, the markets, and the logistics,” she said.  “That means I really get to dig in and hear who needs what and why.”

Residents interested in working with greenGoat can contact them for an estimate by emailing thegoat@greengoat.org or writing to P.O. Box 441911, Somerville, Massachusetts, 02144 with specific interests regarding building efficiency goals.

(Matthew Hornung and Keenan Ashbrook)

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