The Armory Series - Green Building = Green for the Taxpayer

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The Armory Series - Green Building = Green for the Taxpayer

July 03, 2009 - 20:42

"The greenest building is the one that's already built" is not just a new catchphrase . It is a proven concept that is being applied to historic and non historic buildings all across the country . Take the Portland Armory as an example .  In the Jan '07 issue of www.Metropolis , Brian Libby writes "In October it became the first historic-building renovation to earn a LEED Platinum rating from the U.S. Green Building Council—a transformation that illuminates just how tricky (yet ultimately feasible) it can be to strike a balance between the principles of sustainability and preservation." . Numerous other projects are realizing how clear the choice is when trying to save a significant piece of a cultures history and move forward with development .From we hear “We wanted to preserve it, the historical significance of it,” said Seth Patton, vice president for finance and management at Denison University, referring to Cleveland Hall. “It’s an attractive old building. It also fits into current thinking on environmental sustainability – to reuse what you can rather than tearing down and starting over.” “Everyone likes to throw the ‘green’ word around, especially with new construction,” Jenkins said. “Actually, one of the greenest ways to act in the construction industry is to reuse existing structures. The amount of resources and the carbon footprint is pretty much nonexistent in comparison to building a new building.” Save the history while saving the planet . Sounds pretty good to me .

When you start to calculate the true costs of a building and it's replacement you begin to see the energy savings in gained by reuse .  Using a simple embedded energy and demolition calculator from , you could expect to save the equivalent of about one million gallons of gas just by NOT razing the Armory . From www.earth911.c0m/blog/2009/02/23/the-greenest-building comes this quote .

"The crucial element in the loss of embodied energy is that it cannot be regained. Granted, building salvage businesses are alive and well, but on the whole, a great deal of energy, carbon emissions, materials, time and labor are gone when a building is taken down." .

So it's not just theory , proponents see the critical savings across the board from an environmental and historical standpoint .

Now that we've saved the world , where do we go ?  The possibilities are endless if you use a vision of success instead of failure . The Armory could/ should be the premier showcase for what's possible with green technology today . Solar and wind power , passive heating and cooling , recaptured rainwater (look at the roof - thousands and thousands of gallons saved) . Build this in an exposed setting and you will have children from every school within driving distance , every day, lining up to witness the possibilities . Imagine what a springboard for their minds this would be, sparking the next wave of builders ,engineers, architects , dreamers for a brighter future. Build THIS Armory and New Rochelle will be the spotlight of the nation, a place that all would be jealous off, the leader in the global fight to improve the world. People all over would ask " where can WE get an Armory" . I would even bet President Obama would make a visit to pat us all on the back . He IS a major fan of going green .
From a green standpoint there is no question about what's right or wrong . The answer is clear. Save the Armory

While your at it , check out "Why Would you save the Armory" at and check out the links to some of the other Armory success stories. I have yet to find a city, or mayor who has chosen to ignore the value of the jewel in their possession . Don't let it happen here
   When the kids are finished with the daytime events ,  grownups can enjoy one of the many venues possible with a space like this . Read "Have you been to these venues lately ?" at .( stories were written by this author)   

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You'll see there has been no significant evaluation or brainstorming about how best to use the Echio Bay area . It has been nothing short of handing everything over to Forest City and saying " do what you will with the 30 million dollars of FREE property" . Any "open space " WILL BE OWNED by Forest City. It's NOT "public space" in the sense that New Rochelle gets to decide what to do with it . Forest City can just as easily say "off limits " to all but the residents of Echo Bay . How does that benefit the public at large ? We are being asked to support a project that has yet to be defined in terms that would have consistent impact regardless of their configuration . For example , a 300 room hotel was added (alongside the sewage treatment plant of all places)in the last minutes of submitting plans . Subsequent discussions declared Forest City may choose to put LARGE SCALE retail instead . Which is it , what are we supposed to support ? It's been claimed by city spokespeople that it has been a very open and transparent process . NONSENSE . When dynamics of the project keep shifting like the tidal sands and the concept looks nothing like what was suggested by the initial pitch man at the 5 Islands Park meeting, you can't say transparent. Where are the meetings to talk about a hotel ? Large scale retail ? Nothing has been done that isn't required by law . The scoping sessions are all required by law . Every notice by the city is a legal requirement . Sounds like business as usual . At least THAT is transparent enough .