The NY headquarters of CodeGreen clients DemocracyNow!, which also achieved LEED Platinum-CI
INHABITAT:It may seem like common sense, but in most cases, are the sustainability benefits of retrofitting an existing building greater than just building a new building?
Stephen: A tremendous amount of GHGs are produced constructing a building. From making concrete, to transporting supplies. Without a doubt there are times when a new building is the best solution for a site. Look at the AOL Time Warner Building versus the old convention center previously at that site. Clearly, the project developer created tremendous value here. However, we also have such a bounty of relevant existing buildings in NYC. We need to make sure that we’re not tearing down some of these gems. Look at all the conversions and how prices of warehouse buildings skyrocket as they are converted to residential, or commercial. NYC’s meatpacking district is a great example of this. We simply can’t rebuild some of the things built seventy-five years ago.
INHABITAT:When it comes to energy efficiency, what are the most common problems you see in NY buildings?
Stephen: Basically, most buildings don’t even look at full energy consumption. This includes both base building, but also tenant consumption. Tenants consume well over sixty percent of the energy used in a building. We have to start looking at ways to make the users more efficient too.