Humans have been making use of seaweed for over 45,000 years.
The whole of Providence was included on the 2021 list because of the many climate-change challenges the city faces. (Frank Carini/ecoRI News)
“We’ve been talking behind the scenes about how to infuse our preservation work with this mindset, and of course preservation is an inherently green practice, particularly with adaptive reuse of old buildings. So, this really gave us a great way to marry preservation and sustainability. It just gave us a great jumping-off point.”
Logging makes fires worse, not better. One of the most fateful management choices Congress and our federal forest agencies made in the past was to allow logging corporations free reign on public lands to take the biggest, oldest, most fire-resistant trees with them and leave behind flammable piles of slash, dense plantations of young trees and networks of logging roads that would stretch from here to the moon and halfway back. With these roads come more human-sparked fires from logging equipment, irresponsible campers, gunfire and fireworks. Ninety percent of wildland fires are human caused and this labyrinth of logging roads provides the conduit.
A flood-plain forest grows now where there used to be houses in the Watson Crampton neighborhood in Woodbridge, N.J., as seen from the air on Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019. The Heards Brook on the top meets the Woodbridge River on the left, which leads to the Atlantic Ocean. Homeowners here took buyouts through a program that purchases houses and demolishes them to remove people from danger and to help absorb water from rising sea levels due to climate change. (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey) THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Blue Acres has so far lined up funding to buy 1,156 properties statewide. It has made offers on nearly 1,000 homes, closed deals on more than 700, and knocked down more than 640 in flood-danger areas across New Jersey, according to Larry Hajna, a spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Protection.
Scott L. Miley | CNHI News Indiana Jonathan Spodek, director of the Ball State University graduate program in historic preservation, believes historic structures, including landmark courthouses and government buildings, can often be refitted for reuse, and not demolished as a first option.
“Even a highly-efficient new green building over its lifespan will use more energy and create more greenhouse gas issues than a rehabbed building of the same size. It will take 80 years for that debt to be recovered,” Lindberg said.He added, “We certainly don’t have 80 years to start making a difference. So the smartest thing we can do is to hang on to the buildings we can, serve those and make them more energy efficient.”
At the same time, roughly one billion square feet of buildings are demolished and replaced every year in the United States. According to an analysis by the Brookings Institution, the country is in the midst of demolishing and replacing 82 billion square feet of existing space — nearly a quarter of the existing building stock — by 2030.
That is an astonishing amount of waste. In fact, the energy used to demolish and rebuild that much space could power the entire state of California for a decade! According to a formula produced for the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, about 80 billion British thermal units (Btus) of energy are embodied in a typical 50,000-square-foot commercial building.
Building Research Establishment Trust is working on several research projects focused on mitigation and resilience to climate change
Another research project last year also looked at the impacts of deconstruction – or, essentially, demolishing buildings – on the circular economy, as “effectively dealing with buildings at the end of their life has the potential to unlock significant economic value”, according to the Trust. Construction and the built environment is the single biggest user of materials and generator of waste in the UK economy, but the value that can be extracted from deconstruction is very much dependent on how buildings have been designed and built.
The good news is that if you’re a child in southwestern Kazakhstan or northern Uzbekistan, you have access to a creepy, apocalyptic playground that your parents never did. The dry wasteland where the Aral Sea once teemed with fish is now scattered with abandoned cargo vessels and derelict ship wreckage. And boy, are they fun for a game of hide-and-go-seek.
While it’s true that the “3Rs” have become a catalyzing movement of our times, the “reuse” part of this waste management trilogy is often overlooked. Thanks to ReuseConex, the International Reuse Conference & Expo, this is about to change!
If you work with a local reuse organization, if you shop at thrift stores or online resellers, if you buy or sell reusables, if you’re interested in green-collar jobs, and if you’re concerned about climate change – then join us for ReuseConex!
The theme for ReuseConex 2014 is Innovate. Transform. Sustain. — and we hope you’ll join us while we explore new methods and replicable models to make reuse work for your community. At ReuseConex you will find out more about the “triple bottom line” benefits of reuse, learn from and share best practices, and network with leaders in the reuse industry. Join us!
But is it good for the environment? Lots of people think so, including architect Carl Elefante, who coined the wonderful phrase, “the greenest building is one that is already built,” because you don’t have to use environmental resources in constructing its replacement.
Read the rest of the article at The green dividend from reusing older buildings | Kaid Benfield’s Blog | Switchboard, from NRDC.