Treehugger: Make Buildings Behave Better

Especially here in New York City, buildings are one of the biggest sources of greenhouse gas emissions; but that also means that retrofitting them to use less fuel is potentially a great way to clean up the air and lower energy use.

According to the Economist, “The IPCC report looked at the potential for cutting emissions of carbon dioxide from all major culprits—including transport, power generation, general industry, agriculture and buildings. Despite all those exhaust-pipes and power-station chimneys, it found that the greatest potential lay with buildings.”

read the whole article on Treehugger.

2 Responses to “ Treehugger: Make Buildings Behave Better ”

  1. And preservation and adaptation of existing buildings is more resource-efficient and sustainable than teardown and buildup. There’s more than environmental sustainability at stake. There’s economic, cultural, and social sustainability as well. For example, adapting old(er) buildings requires skilled workers and craftspeople familiar with the local stock, creating and developing local job opportunities in a neighborhood micro-economy.

    Green building folks also have to pay more attention to – and reward – the embodied energy of existing buildings, and the energy – and waste – associated with destroying old buildings and building new ones. It’s not just about annual operating costs. We need to consider the entire life-cycle of a building – from the death of the old to the death of the new – to compile a complete budget of a building’s impact.

  2. exactly xris. this topic is one of my passions… in fact it kind of got me started down the whole sustainability path. (see earlier post on this topic here http://sustainableflatbush.org/?p=12.)

    i really feel that energy-efficiency retrofitting of older buildings is a huge potential source of “low-hanging fruit” for Bloomberg’s PlaNYC initiative. the retrofits are not that costly (in the larger scheme of things), they’ll reduce strain on the electrical grid and demand for more power plants, and lower emissions at the same time. the problem is that even with a relatively quick payback time, a lot of building owners and co-op/condo boards don’t know about retrofit technologies and/or can’t afford the initial expense.

    NYC needs a serious plan to provide substantial tax credits and interest free loans to green our older buildings.

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