PopSci.com welcomes Dr. Bill Chameides, dean of Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment. Dr. Chameides blogs at The Green Grok to spark lively discussions about environmental science, keeping you in the know on what the scientific world is discovering and how it affects you – all in plain language and, hopefully, with a bit of fun. PopSci.com partners with The Green Grok, bringing his blog posts directly to our users. Give it a read and get in on the discussion!
As a model for existing buildings, you can’t ask for much better than the plan that's been outlined to green the Empire State Building. And for new ones, the Big Apple's most feted building's big move should be an inspiration for how to build more sustainably.
Percent of total U.S. energy consumption used by commercial and residential buildings: 38
Percent of total U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions emitted by commercial and residential buildings: 38
How much the greening of the Empire State Building is expected to cost: $20 million
How much it is expected to save annually: $4.4 million
How many years before the greening costs pay for themselves: under 5
How much the greening is expected to decrease the building's energy use: 38 percent
How many metric tons of CO2 emissions the greening is expected to cut over the next 15 years: 105,000
Estimated greenhouse gas savings, expressed in terms of an equivalent number of cars taken off the road: 22,000
Percent of U.S. buildings in 2030 that will have been built after 2000: 50
Reduction in CO2 emissions from buildings that is achievable using current best practices: 60 to 70 percent
Minimal savings of total U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions (year 2000) if current best practices were used to construct these buildings: 15 percent
Proposed target for reducing U.S. CO2 emissions by 2020 in Waxman-Markey discussion bill (relative to 2005 emissions): 20 percent
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