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Nantucket Building Material Salvage Study Phase II Report

A partnership between Remain and the Nantucket Preservation Trust has been exploring the challenges and potential pathways forward for the practice of salvage and reuse of materials in the building sector on Nantucket, which has the potential to not only mitigates greenhouse gas emissions but also assist affordable housing endeavors.


Research began with Boston-based consulting firm EBP began in 2022 and led to a two-phase report documented substantial salvage potential for the Nantucket community and offered insights into economic value, carbon footprint and successful frameworks.


Nantucket’s history of repurposing buildings and building components dates back to the 17th and 18th century, when reuse was common and disposing of building materials as ‘waste’ was unthinkable. Only in the 20th century did construction waste disposal become an ‘economic’ option. Now, every year on Nantucket more than 17,000 tons of construction and demolition (C&D) waste is transported off-island, much of which is eventually disposed of in landfills in Ohio and Maine. Much of this ‘waste’ is a result of the demolition of houses on Nantucket, and a significant portion of these discarded materials has the potential to be salvaged and reused through deconstruction. As we face a changing climate and increasing pressure on finite natural resources, it is more important than ever that we use our existing resources thoughtfully and sustainably, and that we have policies in place to support this. Nantucket Preservation Trust is leading Phase 2 of the Nantucket Building Material Salvage study to address this important challenge. This Existing Ordinance Research and New Ordinance Development phase of the study is intended to explore and report on the various issues and considerations surrounding potential building deconstruction and building material reuse policy on Nantucket.


The goal of this study is to provide actionable insights into how to encourage better use of Nantucket’s building and construction resources through a comprehensive deconstruction policy, while having a positive impact on the Island’s long-term sustainability. The study results indicate that there are multiple policy approaches to encourage or require deconstruction and building material reuse that have been employed by communities around the U.S. to support sustainability objectives. Beyond the clear environmental benefits, the other drivers to implementing deconstruction and reuse policy measures include: historic preservation, depletion of natural resources, declining landfill capacity, cost savings and the affordable housing crisis.


The Nantucket Building Material Salvage Study Phase 1 Interim Report can be found here. The Nantucket Building Material Salvage Study Phase 2 Report can be found here.


Nantucket Building Material Salvage Study Phase 1 Interim Report

Nantucket Building Material Salvage Study Phase 2 Report