By Scott Elder, National Geographic
The Empire State Building’s facelift included its signature lights, now LEDs with millions of color combinations possible. New York is also tackling the energy efficiency of less prominent landmarks, investing nearly $500 million to improve its million-plus buildings—and is the first U.S. city to divest from fossil fuels.
PHOTOGRAPH BY GARY HERSHORN, GETTY IMAGES
Fenway Park, the Eiffel Tower, Empire State, and other storied structures were upgraded for 21st-century energy efficiency.
The world’s iconic buildings achieve celebrated status because their architecture stands the test of time. But what lies beneath those enduring facades?
Design and engineering evolve quickly, and many urban buildings—nearly half the office space in New York City was built before 1945—predate concepts like sustainability, climate change, and even recycling, resulting in waste and inefficiency.
Enter the retrofit. Aging buildings are updated with new windows, lighting, plumbing fixtures, and heating and cooling systems, ultimately saving owners and operators money while they conserve energy.
Buildings consume 73 percent of the electricity in the U.S., and indirectly create 38 percent of carbon dioxide emissions—more than industry or transportation. To win the battle against climate change, cities will need to run on more efficient buildings. (See what makes a “green building.”)
These historic icons blazed a trail for other buildings to follow.
Read the full article here.
By Ken Belson, New York Times
Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta is the first to win Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Platinum certification for energy efficiency and sustainable design.
Credit: Kevin D. Liles for The New York Times
ATLANTA — On a walking tour of the nine-month-old, $1.6 billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium here last month, Scott Jenkins, the general manager for the building, stopped in front of a 20-foot-high gray concrete box underneath an overpass. There was little to suggest what was inside. No signs, markings or equipment.
Mr. Jenkins, an evangelist for all things green, was animated. The otherwise generic structure, he said, holds up to 680,000 gallons of rainwater collected mostly from the roof of the enormous stadium standing just a few feet away. The runoff is used to irrigate the vegetation around the building, and by storing much of it, flooding will be reduced in the low-lying West End neighborhood nearby. In other words, the 120-foot-long cistern saves money and helps the surrounding area.
“It’s a community play as much as an environmental play, to do our part around issues in the neighborhood,” Mr. Jenkins said. “If you looked at the return on investment for the water, it will take a long time to pay off. But some of this is good for business and some is good for the community.”
Read the full article here.
APPA Facilities Manager
APPA has just published the March/April issue of Facilities Manager magazine, which includes a compilation of 36 campus best practices in sustainability and environmental stewardship and education. These short case studies show a great variety of innovation, collaboration, and success from institutions large and small throughout North America.
Click here to view the full issue.