Martin Liefhebber on Embodied Energy of Existing Buildings

riverdale hospital entrance photo

"Scarcity is not a result of us not having enough, it is because of the way we use it." So says Martin Liefhebber, who was doing green architecture before there was a name for it; 12 years ago he designed Toronto's Healthy House that remains cutting edge; we have also covered his Wilson House. He was at the 2008 Heritage Conservation conference decrying the loss of a midcentury modern hospital in Toronto, calculating its embodied energy and the cost of the demolition of not just a perfectly good building, but actually a quite remarkable bit of design with a lot of interesting features, that took 13,576 megawatts of power to build, and will generate 40,000 yards of concrete waste, and will be torn down because of a complete failure of vison and comprehension of the value of what they have.

Below the fold: Martin explaining how long it takes for a building to pay off its initial energy investment.

I apologise for the wind noise.


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