Designing a building from scratch has some advantages if you're trying to save energy; you can use the newest technology and invest in something awesome like the new Bullitt Center in Seattle. But what about all of the buildings that already exist? In Norway, two office buildings are being retrofitted so they will use no energy, and actually generate extra power.
The buildings will generate solar power on site (despite Norway's gloomy weather) as well as geothermal energy. They'll also use black facades and insulation to reduce energy use by nearly 90 percent. The project's backers say it's the most ambitious retrofit ever.
Why is this so important? The building sector has the most potential of any industry—more than even manufacturing or transportation—to cut emissions. And in places like the United States and Europe, more than 80 percent of the buildings that exist now will still be around in 2050. We need to find more solutions like this one.
This month, challenge a neighbor to GOOD's energy smackdown. Find a neighbor with a household of roughly the same square footage and see who can trim their power bill the most. Throughout February, we'll share ideas and resources for shrinking your household carbon footprint, so join the conversation at good.is/energy.
Original office building image via Shutterstock.