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Green Buildings Don’t Have to be New

March 11, 2008

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Read another great NY Times article about the sustainability advantages of preserving existing buildings.

The National Trust’s Dick Moe points out in his recent remarks upon receiving the National Building Museum’s Vincent Scully Prize:

  • About 80 billion BTUs of energy are embodied in a typical 50,000 sf commercial building. The equivalent of 640,000 gallons of gasoline. Tear it down – all that embodied energy is wasted.
  • Demolish the same building = 4,000 tons of waste, enough to fill 26 boxcars, a train 1/4 mile long headed for an already-full landfill
  • The new building replacing the demolished one takes even more energy, uses more natural resources and releases more pollutants and greenhouse gases into the environment. It’s estimated that constructing a new 50,000 sf commercial building releases about the same amount of CO2 into the air as driving a car 2.8 million miles!
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