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Renovation Could Provide Cheaper Way To Create Eco-Friendly Buildings

Ball State University campus (Stephanie Wiechmann)

A Ball State University professor says efforts to reduce carbon emissions have to start at the local level.

New research shows about 70 percent of carbon emissions come from buildings in cities, and of those, 60 to 80 percent are buildings more than 50 years old.

Jonathan Spodek is the director of the graduate program and historical preservation at Ball State University. He says some cities want to tear down historic buildings and rebuild with non-carbon based energy systems. But Spodek says financially, that’s not the best option.

“We’ve been able to take existing buildings and renovate them for the fraction of the cost of new construction and to meet and exceed all the new building goals for energy efficiencies,” he says.

Spodek says Bloomington is setting an example on how to commit to climate change initiatives. The city is collecting data on carbon emissions and on energy use so officials can monitor its progress. 

Spodek says he hopes his research will encourage policy change at the state level.

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