The Greenest Building is the One Already Built

"Preservation saves energy by taking advantage of the nonrecoverable energy embodied in an existing building and extending the use of it" - ASSESSING the ENERGY CONSERVATION BENEFITS of HISTORIC PRESERVATION: Methods and Examples, Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.
Teardown not only describes the process of razing a historic structure, but is also used to describe the building that replaces it. A new "teardown" is marked by its oversized footprint and often visually jarring design. In our experience, the average sq. ft. of a teardown is a bit more than double the size of the existing home. Visit the National Trust's Teardown Resource Guide to learn more.

This calculator combines the functionality of the embodied energy concept models with the demolition debris calculator. This calculator will only work with one building type (zoning being what it is, we are assuming a like building is being replaced).

Begin by choosing construction and building type of the existing building. Next enter the sq. ft. of the existing building and new construction. Click calculate to get the amount of energy lost and spent in demolition and construction, as well as the tons of debris generated. Approximate equivalents in gallons of gas and individual waste, respectively, are also displayed.

Existing Building:
  sq. ft.
New Construction:
  sq. ft.
Embodied Energy =   MBTU Embodied Energy =   MBTU
Demolition Energy =   BTU  
Demolition Debris =   tons Demolition Debris =   tons
Total teardown embodied energy =   MBTU
Total teardown construction and demolition debris =   tons
The energy lost and spent is approximately equivlent to   gallons of gas
It would take   years for a single individual to produce an equivalent amount of trash
We compiled the calculators and values found on the concept model page and the demolition debris page.
Please see each for a more detailed view of our sources.

The National Trust's Sustainability Initiative is the best source on the web for green preservation. We recommend their Green Home Tips. Learn more with sustainability news, research and case studies. And read the article that started it all, Carl Elefante's "The Greenest Building Is...One that is Already Built," from the Summer 2007 Forum Journal.

More links? Visit our blog: The Greenest Building is the One Already Built

Read more about embodied energy in Australia's "Your Home Technical Manual"

MTWAS est. 2007

Embodied Energy:
concept model
survey model
ACHP report

Demolition Debris

Total Teardowns

May T. Watts


AT gmail DOT com