According to a 2012 study, retrofitting an old building to make it 30% more energy-efficient is greener than building a new one with the same energy use. In other words: saving factories makes sustainability and business sense.
In Philadelphia, a former manufacturing capital that no longer needs its factories, residents can now choose to live in the Rag Flats, a former rag factory, or the Capital Flats, a former meat-packing plant. Both have been turned into modern apartment buildings featuring roof gardens, solar panels, and water collection. “This city used to be an industrial hub and no longer is, but people are moving back into the city”, explained Timothy McDonald, president of Onion Flats, the firm behind the Rag Flats and Capital Flats conversion. “These kinds of buildings aren’t built anymore. And look at the effects of global warming. Saving buildings like these is just common sense.”