Glasgow Conference

By October 28, 2021Norm's Author Blog

Next week world leaders meet in Glasgow to confer once again about the climate change crisis. As architects, we recognize that proper management of the built environment is critical for any final strategies. In our book, Historic Preservation, this perspective is represented:

“The effort known as the ‘green building movement’ remains blind to its most troubling truth: We cannot build our way to sustainability. Even if, with the wave of a green wand, every building constructed from this day hence had a vegetative roof, was powered only with renewable energy sources, and was built entirely of environmentally appropriate materials, sustainability would still be far from fully realized. Seeking salvation by building new green buildings fails to account for the overwhelming vastness of the existing building stock. The accumulated building stock is the elephant in the room. Ignoring it, we risk being trampled by it. We cannot build our way to sustainability; we must conserve our way to it.”

Our colleague, architect Carl Elefante, popularized this approach through the phrase, “The greenest building is the one already built.”


  • Steven Rogers says:

    Denmark is a leader in green building. Many years ago I was impressed by the garden on the roof of the building.

  • Norm says:

    We visited a city in Germany where every building was required to either have a green roof or solar panels. And they had them!