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Rethos believes reusing and rehabbing old buildings is a sustainable, environmentally conscious practice. We work to reduce energy use in old homes, encourage salvage and material reuse wherever possible, and promote reuse-friendly policies, aligning with our unique grassroots approach to reimagining places.  

Our Initiatives

  • We provide resources and classes that help people maintain & rehab old buildings, reducing our reliance on new, replacement materials. 

  • Through Rethos Policy Institute, we promote the best practices in public policy around historic preservation and building reuse.

  • We are proponents of deconstruction and building material reuse, and we are leaders in education on the process.

  • We build strong partnerships with sustainability organizations around the state.

  • Rethos is an organizational member of ReUSE MN and Build Reuse.

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Deconstruction Master Class

Rethos received a grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation to create a pilot series of virtual education workshops about building deconstruction and its connections to the broader preservation field. Deconstruction allows us to salvage the high quality, historic components of unviable buildings and put them back into the construction resources pipeline, making them usable in future projects.


We hosted three panels during May 2022. Expert panelists discussed the basics of deconstruction as a demolition alternative, the environmental benefits of deconstruction, and its intersections with preservation and material heritage. 


The panels attracted a wide range of participants. Planners, preservationists, community advocates, policy makers, waste management staff, and historians were present. Attendees weren’t only from Minnesota, either! Folks came from 14 other states and Canadian provinces.  



Deconstruction Masterclass: The Essentials

Deconstruction Masterclass: Climate and Environmental Impacts

Deconstruction Masterclass: Giving New Life to Old Buildings

 By the Numbers 

  • $5,000 grant  

  • 3 virtual panel sessions  

  • 11 expert panelists  

  • 228 registrants  

  • 116 YouTube views (and counting)  

What is Deconstruction?

Every year in the U.S., about 1 billion square feet of buildings are demolished and replaced with new construction. (Greenest Building Report)

In a typical demolition project in the Twin Cities, about 85% of those materials could be reused or recycled. (Hennepin County)

Rethos promotes deconstruction as a demolition alternative because high quality materials from old buildings don’t belong in the trash.  

Find Out More

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Grants Received

Rethos encourages homeowners to increase energy efficiency


GreenStep Cities

Rethos is a partner with Minnesota GreenStep Cities, a voluntary challenge, assistance, and recognition program to help cities achieve their sustainability and quality-of-life goals.


Public Resources

Resources to help you with your

next project.



What's new in sustainability.

Sustainability Stories


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The Rethos education program is funded in part by the State of Minnesota from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the Minnesota Historical Society.

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