How is it possible that an existing, potentially inefficient building, is the greenest building? After all, existing buildings have been built years before with higher energy bills, potentially using more water, and producing more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere! Yes, yes and yes.
But the existing building has already been built.
Consider that every time a building is built, new products have to be manufactured and shipped for distribution. Once those products are at distribution centers, they are transported again by trains or trucks to another destination. Once at that destination, they may encounter yet another distribution center to be sent directly that final destination – a home, condo or commercial building for installation. At that final location, manpower and equipment are used to install and construct that new building. Between transportation emissions, fuel, and production, THAT’s a lot of carbon!
That’s why the Greenest Building is the Existing Building!
Existing buildings can be modified for a fraction of the carbon footprint by remodeling. If cabinets are left in place and painted ore refinished again, the carbon footprint is in the products used, not the installation of new products.
If you’re looking to remodel, try to use locally produced products to lower the carbon footprint for your remodel. By doing so, you’ll keep tax dollars in your state benefiting your city’s economy and supporting local businesses.
So the next time you look at a shiny new building, consider the production, transportation and installation of every facet of that “new “ building! The Greenest Building is the Existing Building for what’s already taken place to put it together.
This is post is part of a series on Sustainability.