Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Richard Moe on Preservation and Sustainability

Our speaker last night mentioned Richard Moe's talk on preservation and sustainability. The San Francisco Chronicle reported on it. Moe made some interesting points about older buildings and energy efficiency:

"Buildings designed before the widespread use of electricity feature transoms, high ceilings, and large windows for natural light and ventilation, as well as shaded porches and other features to reduce solar gain....

"According to a formula produced for the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, about 80 billion BTUs of energy are embodied in a typical 50,000-square-foot commercial building. If you tear the building down, all that embodied energy is wasted.

"What's more, demolishing that same 50,000-square-foot commercial building would create nearly 4,000 tons of waste....

"Once the old building is gone, putting up a new one in its place takes more energy, of course, and it also uses more natural resources and releases new pollutants and greenhouse gases into our environment. ... It is estimated that constructing a new 50,000-square-foot commercial building releases about the same amount of carbon into the atmosphere as driving a car 2.8 million miles. ..."

Jon Carroll, “Searching for Bernard,” SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, April 8, 2008,

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