Building Green? Think Existing!

by Cynthia Smith, USGBC-Missouri Gateway Program Committee & Architectural Woodwork Corp. 

More often than not, people don’t seriously consider existing buildings when they choose to build green. This choice would require fighting against our human nature to value things that are shiny and new more than things that are old. In other words, construction from the ground up is perceived as simpler and easier.

It is time that we better understand existing buildings and the environmental and aesthetic benefits of their reuse. I have heard it said that “the greenest building is the one that already exists.” Is it?

On September 11th, USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter and International Facility Management Association – St. Louis Chapter are pleased to present a program that will tackle this topic with practical experience and hard evidence. Our expert presenters are Christine Ramsdell and Ralph DiNola.

Christine Ramsdell is the Manager of Space Planning & Design at Enterprise Holdings, the largest rental car company in North America. She is responsible for the strategic planning and construction of Enterprise’s campuses in St. Louis and Tulsa Oklahoma. Enterprise has two LEED certified offices in St. Louis in reused buildings. Christine will impart her practical experience and expound on the elements that influence the corporate decision to either reuse existing buildings or construct new facilities.

Ralph DiNola is Principal of Green Building Services, an international entire life cycle building consultant involved in the global green building movement since 2000. Ralph was part of the Research Project Team for The Greenest Building: Quantifying the Environmental Value of Building Reuse, which studied “the climate change reductions that might be offered by reusing and retrofitting existing buildings rather than demolishing and replacing them with new construction.” This study was published in 2011 as a report by Preservation Green Lab, part of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The Greenest Building is ground breaking in that it provides some of the most comprehensive research ever done about the environmental impact reduction connected to reusing buildings. By using a Life Cycle Assessment Analysis (LCA), The Greenest Building compares the environmental impacts of building reuse and renovation to new construction over a 75-year building lifespan. DiNola, who is presenting remotely from Oregon, will present a synopsis of this research, their findings and its impact on the building industry.

Please join us on Tues., Sept. 11th from 5:30 – 7:30 pm for this free program to learn just how green existing buildings are. The program will take place at the Alberici Headquarters, 8800 Page Ave. in Overland. While the program is free, we require reservations online at www.usgbc-mogateway.org or by phone at (314) 577-0225.