Everybody knows that the buildings we live and work in have a big impact on the environment. Even more so when the buildings are old and unsustainable.
According to a recent report from the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction, International Energy Agency and the UN Environment Programme, building construction and operations were, globally, responsible for 36% of final energy use in 2018.
In the recent Green Home Builder interview, Sam Rashkin said:”Buildings consume 40 percent of the total energy in the U.S., which means they account for 40 percent of the emissions. Builders are also considered at about 25 percent of all the electricity. And about 85 percent of electricity comes from fossil fuels. There’s just no path to a sustainable future that doesn’t go through buildings.”
However, are we going to tear own the dinosaur-old buildings for the sake of the planet? What about the historical buildings like the U.K.’s Houses of Parliament, in central London? One section of the estate, Westminster Hall, dates back to 1099. Plans are being developed to restore this sprawling, aged, complex, with lawmakers set to temporarily move out when works eventually begin.
Of course, we will not tear them down. We’ll have to retrofit them. We will try to, not find way, but make way to build with green materials such as wood, rather than energy intensive materials such as cement. Meticulously weatherproof the buildings in colder climate zones, and design smarter, strategically placing buildings’ walls and windows. Using fewer, but larger windows, because the frames are less energy efficient than the glass.
As for the historical structures, we cannot simply replace the windows and switch the building materials, but we can weatherize it and fit it with energy saving LED lightbulbs, and perhaps fit it with energy saving technology.