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Tear-downs -- unprecedented waste

A huge amount of waste in landfills comes from construction. Every time a building is torn down, we lose much more than meets the eye

Tear-downs -- an affront to the ecology

"Every brick in a building required the burning of fossil fuel in its manufacture, and every piece of lumber was cut and transported using energy. As long as the building stands, that energy is there, serving a useful purpose. Trash a building and you trash its embodied energy too."

      -- Robert Shipley and Jason Kovac in ::Alternatives, quoted by Lloyd Alter in Tree Hugger Aug 20, 2007, “Big Steps in Building: Ban Demolition”

What happened to "recycling"?

We tear down a small building and we wipe out the entire environmental benefit from recycling hundreds of thousands of aluminum cans.

Donovan Rypkema does the math: "We all diligently recycle our Coke cans. It's a pain in the neck, but we do it because it's good for the environment. Here is a typical building in an American downtown — 25 feet wide and 120 feet deep. Today we tear down one small building like this in your downtown. We have now wiped out the entire environmental benefit from the last 1,344,000 aluminum cans that were recycled. We've not only wasted an historic building, we've wasted months of diligent recycling by the people of your community.”

      -- Donovan Rypkema quoted by Lloyd Alter in Tree Hugger Aug 20, 2007

Few incentives to renovate

Individual property owners are not given enough flexibility to meet their renovation needs. We lack creative and affordable solutions as an incentive to retain existing buildings. There are city charges and by-laws that act as a disincentive for owners to maintain and renovate their properties.

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