Richard Moe, President of the National Trust for Historic Preservation wrote an Op Ed in the times yesterday that really resonated with me. I quote,
“Before demolishing an old building to make way for a new one, consider the amount of energy required to manufacture, transport and assemble the pieces of that building. With the destruction of the building, all that energy is utterly wasted. Then think about the additional energy required for the demolition itself, not to mention for new construction. Preserving a building is the ultimate act of recycling.”
I could not possibly agree more. I think of my project on 2139 39th Ave as one giant recycling bin – there were items that had to go of course, like the infamous red shag disco fever carpet, but so much was saved; the structural framing and timbers, the perimeter foundation, much of the front exterior. It is the essence of sustainable building, to find new life in what is already there. Why stop at recycling aluminum cans, recycle whole buildings!!