Heritage and sustainability facts

When deciding between rehabilitating an existing building or building new, consider these statistics:

  • The materials used in most new construction require more energy to produce than traditional materials. Aluminum window frames, for example, require nearly 100 times more energy to produce than traditional wood ones
  • Worldwide building construction consumes roughly three billion tons of raw materials every year. 
  • Two-thirds of all buildings that currently exist will be in use in 2050
  • Studies indicate that by 2030 we will have demolished and replaced 82 billion square feet of our current building stock. That's a third of our existing buildings
  • Twenty percent of all existing landfill deposits in Canada is construction waste
  • Demolition of housing produces an average of 115 pounds of waste per square foot. Demolition of commercial buildings produces 155 pounds
  • Building operations create approximately 30 percent of Canada's greenhouse gas emissions
Consider a typical 50,000-square-foot commercial building: 
  • Constructing it would release about the same amount of carbon into the atmosphere as driving a car 4.5 million kilometres. That's equivalent to driving around the globe 112 times
  • It stores approximately 80 billion BTUs of embodied energy. That's equivalent to 2.4 million litres of gasoline
  • Demolishing it would create nearly 3.6 million kilograms of waste. That's enough to fill 26 railroad boxcars
  • Calculate the embodied energy in a building