Plan to ‘Energize Des Moines’ aims to reduce consumption of resources in largest buildings

Read the full story in Business Record.

A program to reduce energy and water consumption in Des Moines’ largest buildings was outlined today to the Des Moines City Council.

Called Energize Des Moines, the voluntary program targets occupied commercial, multifamily, hospitality, industrial and institutional buildings of at least 25,000 square feet. The goal is to reduce energy and water consumption by 10 percent by 2020. Of immediate focus are buildings located downtown; however, owners of any structures that fit the criteria can participate.

9 projects that reimagine old buildings, from factories to firehouses

Read the full story at Curbed.

Adaptive reuse can mean a lot of different things, from reinventing an old school building to repurposing shipping containers as homes. At its core, the concept is about repurposing an old building into something new.

But adaptive reuse differs from renovation in one important way: Not only are buildings transformed, but this second life is drastically different in purpose from the first. Factories are converted into offices, warehouses into shopping markets. And in famous examples like the High Line, old, dilapidated railroads became linear parks that spark a newly revitalized neighborhood.

Adaptive reuse allows cities to take a second look at old spaces, especially those that are abandoned or located along struggling, industrial waterfronts. It can also be a key way to preserve historic spaces and reduce urban sprawl; why build a new office space or hotel in the suburbs when you could breathe new life into an old structure?

To see how different spaces are being repurposed in cities across the U.S., we’ve rounded up nine creative adaptive reuse projects. While in no way comprehensive, this list shows the diversity and architectural possibilities that come from repurposing things like old factories, wharfs, and power plants in new ways.


Enviros and Developers: A Love Story

Read the full story in Grist.

Environmentalists are usually thought of as folks who are trying to stop something: a destructive dam, an oil export terminal, a risky pipeline. But when it comes to housing, new-school environmentalists — like Wiener — understand that it’s necessary to support things, too. To meet California’s ambitious goals to cut pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, regulators say the state must build dense, walkable neighborhoods that allow people to ditch their cars.

Weighing the Economic Benefits vs. Environmental Impacts of New Buildings

Read the full story in Triple Pundit.

New buildings can bring income to the communities in which they’re built by attracting new business and residents to the area. The materials and fuels used to build a new structure also have significant environmental impacts, and new impacts arise once the building is in operation.

Do the many economic benefits of new buildings outweigh the environmental harm they can cause? Could we reduce new buildings’ environmental footprints while still retaining their financial advantages?

The Home Depot announces new strategy to remove toxic chemicals in building products

Read the full story from Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families.

Today, The Home Depot announced a new Chemical Strategy to remove harmful chemicals in building products such as paints, carpet, and flooring. The policy addresses dangerous chemicals like flame retardants, phthalates, and nonylphenol ethoxylates. Hazardous chemicals such as these have been linked to cancer, reproductive harm, asthma, and learning and developmental disabilities.

Cool roofs have water saving benefits too

Read the full story at ScienceDaily.

The energy and climate benefits of cool roofs have been well established: By reflecting rather than absorbing the sun’s energy, light-colored roofs keep buildings, cities, and even the entire planet cooler. Now a new study has found that cool roofs can also save water by reducing how much is needed for urban irrigation.

Using LEED in transportation projects can lead to savings

Read the full story in Construction Dive.

Using LEED strategies in transportation facilities can help save project stakeholders significantly and lead to a higher return on investment, according to the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED in Motion: Transportation report.