Heritage and Sustainability Facts
Consider these statistics:
- The materials used in most new construction require more energy to produce than traditional materials. Aluminum window frames, for example, require nearly 100 times more energy to produce than traditional wood ones.
- Worldwide building construction consumes roughly three billion tons of raw materials every year.
- Two-thirds of all buildings that currently exist will be in use in 2050.
- Studies indicate that by 2030 we will have demolished and replaced 82 billion square feet of our current building stock. That's one-third of our existing buildings!
- One-fifth of all existing landfill deposits in Canada is construction waste.
- Demolition of housing produces an average of 115 pounds of waste per square foot. Demolition of commercial buildings produces 155 pounds.
- Building operations create approximately 30 per cent of Canada's greenhouse gas emissions.
Consider a typical 50,000-square-foot commercial building:
- Constructing it would release about the same amount of carbon into the atmosphere as driving a car 4.5 million kilometres. That's equivalent to driving around the globe 112 times!
- It stores approximately 80 billion BTUs of embodied energy. That's equivalent to 2.4 million litres of gasoline!
- Demolishing it would create nearly 3.6 million kilograms of waste. That's enough to fill 26 railroad boxcars!
- Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, 2005.
- Denhez, Marc. "Reusing Cities." Alternatives. July 2007.
- MEC Green Building Program.
- Moe, Richard. "Historic Preservation's Essential Role in Fighting Climate Change." Forum News, National Trust for Historic Preservation. Mar/Apr. 2008.