Cities missing opportunities to retrofit existing buildings
Mayors intent of transforming their municipalities into smart cities might want to hold off on the sensors and computerized nerve centers. Eric Mackres reports for The City Fix that the building blocks for urban innovation are the everyday structures that need retrofits.
Homes, offices, stores, businesses, factories and so on cover 50 percent or more of most city lands. Yet when it comes to upgrades, flashier innovations are taking precedent. “Buildings are often ignored as public service providers, despite their prevalence in urban life,” Mackres writes.
There’s ample room to increase the energy efficiency of existing structures, the article says. Potential improvements range from rainwater capture and recycling to automation and data analytics. Self-sufficient buildings can even generate and sell electricity. Unfortunately, “investments in buildings often lag, leaving significant potential untapped,” the author laments.