We already know that, in many cases, retaining older buildings - especially those of architectural or historic character - can strengthen the enduring legacy and enjoyment of a community. But is it good for the environment? Lots of people think so, including architect Carl Elefante, who coined the wonderful phrase, “the greenest building is one that is already built,” because you don’t have to use environmental resources in constructing its replacement. (I have added that the phrase is most likely to be true if the building is in the right context.) But, especially considering the advanced green technology available for new construction, do the facts back that up?
The Preservation Green Lab of the National Trust for Historic Preservation has just released a detailed new study (available here) directly addressing these important questions. The study concludes that it can take between 10 and 80 years for a new, energy-efficient building to overcome, through more efficient operations, the negative energy and climate change impacts caused in the construction process. The study cautions, however, that there are environmental resources expended in rehabbing an older building as well; care must be taken in the selection of materials used in the rehabilitation or adaptation of older buildings, since “the benefits of reuse can be reduced or negated based on the type and quantity of materials selected for a reuse project.”
One thing I love to do but am always terrible at is cake decorating! I always see pictures of these delicious cakes and think - I could totallydo that - and they always promise that it’s so easy! Well when I saw this cake I thought, ‘Easy? Yeah right’. But once I actually saw this tutorial I thought - hmm, maybe I coulddo that! Yes, it would take more than the usual slap dash 5 minute icing job, but if you’re wanting to make a cake for a special occasion then this would be perfect. Plus don’t you think it looks even more delicious?!
Growing food in small spaces. I’m having fun gardening with the North-east Brooklyn community.
As more and more Americans grow their own fruits and vegetables, MNN digs up some dirt on this DIY food revolution.
In the Parisian apartment of Kenzo Takada, a Japanese negoro-nuri lacquerware teapot sits on an Art Deco table by lacquerware master craftsman Jean Dunand.
From ‘High Renaissance’, a story on page 118 of Vogue Living Jan/Feb 2012.
Photograph by Mark Seelen.