I heard a radio story this morning about a new report from the National Trust for Historic Preservation arguing that retrofitting existing buildings is much greener than building new LEED certified super-efficient ones. That's because construction, as such, is pretty non-green. This, to me, is only the beginning of the story and I highly recommend Sarah Laskow's discussion of the issues.
The big thing here is that even if we never tore down another building and just did retrofits of everything, it's not as if construction of new buildings would come to a halt. As long as the population grows, there will be new construction. So the right question to ask about a teardown is probably something like "how tall does the new structure need to be before a new build is greener than retrofit + build elsewhere"? That's going to depend on various features of the local situation. Adding more population to San Diego is much more climate-friendly greener than adding new population to Houston because of differences in the local climate and electricity sources.
TODAY IN SLATE
Forget Oculus Rift
This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.
Republicans Want the Government to Listen to the American Public on Ebola. That’s a Horrible Idea.
The 2014 Kansas City Royals Show the Value of Building a Mediocre Baseball Team
The GOP Won’t Win Any Black Votes With Its New “Willie Horton” Ad
Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band
Can it be again?
Smash and Grab
Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?