Today Zerofootprint has launched an innovative International Building Re-Skinning Competition at the Discovery 2009 Exhibition in Toronto. The focus of the competition is the development and advancement of the state of the art in retrofitting thousands of post war buildings, improving their energy efficiency and reducing their carbon footprint. The Z-Prize of $1 million will be awarded to the retrofitted building that achieves the most reduction in energy cost per square foot as measured and audited over a three year period following the retrofit.
The basis or catalyst for the competition is an ongoing project sponsored in 2007 by the Mayor’s Office of the City of Toronto, called Toronto Tower Renewal. This project is an outgrowth of ongoing research by E.R.A. Architects and the University of Toronto Faculty of Architecture, regarding the value and reuse potential of over 1,000 primarily residential high rise buildings. The initial investigations are well presented in the book , Concrete Toronto, and the background on reuse opportunities is described in the article 'A Suburban Future of Concrete and Gardens-Nice. Right?'
The outcomes of the Tower Renewal Project: The Sustainable City and the Re-Skinning Competition are very clear and further demonstrate the point that the most sustainable building is a reuse of an existing one. Here their goals include the reduction of green house gas emission through building and site retrofit (sustainable structures); introduction of mixed use new construction to build complete communities (sustainable lifestyles); and creation of technology, materials and industries to launch an increasingly cost effective approach (sustainable industries).
This is one really big sustainable idea with large scale benefits and major global impact. We in the United States should be following the City of Toronto’s lead in implementing such multifaceted sustainable renewal plans.