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“The Greenest Building is…One that Is Already Built”

Architect Carl Elefante,



Old Stables Phila Navy Ship Yard Navsea


Seeking salvation through green building fails to account for the overwhelming vastness of the existing building stock…We cannot build our way to sustainability; we must conserve our way to it.


Embodied energy calculators demonstrate that the consumption required for a new construction can be 15-30 times the annual energy consumption of the building over the life of the building. As a result, true sustainability is when a building is made of “sustainable” materials, adaptively reused and with newer technologies that minimize energy consumption.

Battery Park Maritime Museum


“Razing historic buildings results in a triple hit on scarce resources. First, we are throwing away thousands of dollars of embodied energy. Second, we are replacing it with materials vastly more consumptive of energy. What are most historic houses built from? Brick, plaster, concrete, and timber are among the least energy consumptive of materials. What are major components of new buildings? Plastic, steel, vinyl, and aluminum—among the most energy consumptive of materials. Third, recurring embodied energy savings increase dramatically as a building life stretches over fifty years. You’re a fool or a fraud if you claim to be an environmentalist and yet you throw away historic buildings, and their components.”

Donavan Rypkema 2006

Bridging Boundaries – Building Great Communities

Regional Smart Growth Conference


In the drive towards Building Electrification, historic windows will be at risk.

The risk is unnecessary, as in almost all cases there are interior solutions that will match or outperform the legions of vinyl and aluminum purveyors prepared to destroy ancient old growth wood and antique glass windows.

Our interior heating glass solutions, controlled by AI building managements systems preserve and enhance legacy windows while providing superior energy saving.

Monumental size windows are no problem because of the strength of our Jansen steel frames.

Our interior heating glass solutions, controlled by AI building management systems, preserve and enhance legacy windows while providing superior energy savings as well as supporting reduced sizing of electric heat pumps.


If you are interested in learning more, take some photos of your building's interior and exterior conditions. Send them to us and we will identify what can be done.



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