If you want to be Swamp Yankee Green, remember that a building in the hand trumps a conceptually “greener” replacement building because all the energy, material, site disruption that is already in place, embodied in the building that’s already there cannot be written off.
Building codes often pre-empt the “reuse” option due to safety, structure, or septic issues, but the “clean slate” approach of scorched earth site prep favors shallow thinking and instant gratification. The largest single contributor to landfills is construction waste — enough said.
This is a continuing series by author and architect Duo Dickinson. Read his original expert insight on Swamp Yankee Green.
Duo Dickinson has been an architect for over 30 years and received over 30 awards. His work has been published in over 70 national publications. Mr. Dickinson’s latest book is Staying Put. He is the architecture critic for the New Haven Register, and writes for Design Bureau, A.B., New Haven Magazine, and his own blog, Saved By Design. He has taught at Yale, Roger Williams and Harvard GSD Summer Program.