Market Feasibility Analysis

Project: The construction industry is the biggest consumer of energy and resources – accounting for 39% global of greenhouse gas emissions and more than 50% of resource extraction and solid waste production. The concept of the circular economy — a restorative and regenerative system that aims to eliminate waste by continually reusing materials and products — is increasingly gaining attention as a way to overcome these challenges. CI:RCLE (a research collaboration between Cornell and selected community partners funded by the Einhorn Center) is investigating circular potentials of the local built environment by capitalizing on material reuse and recycling; new construction methods; the reactivation of embodied carbon, water and knowledge; green job creation; and new business models of production and construction. In January 2022, CI:RCLE partners deconstructed a residential structure at 206 College Ave. in Collegetown, Ithaca, part of the Catherine Commons development project, as a sustainable alternative to demolition. The project affords CCL and partners the unique opportunity to both carefully catalogue and value all salvaged building elements and understand the costs of deconstruction in the local economy. The SGE Intensive team will evaluate the business economics of demolition and deconstruction to develop recommendations to the local business community and government on how best to nurture growth of a local circular construction economy similar to those established in other geographies.