23 buildings picked for ‘green remodeling’

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23 buildings picked for ‘green remodeling’

The government selected 23 public buildings including Jeongdong Theater in downtown Seoul on Monday to be remodeled as part of efforts to conserve energy and combat fine dust.

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport said 42 buildings applied for the so-called “green remodeling” project between Jan. 11 and Feb. 28.

The buildings that were selected were built more than 20 years ago.

Remodeling is considered cost effective since it does not involve demolishing and rebuilding the entire building, but rather upgrading it, including reinforcing the insulation system and the windows and doors so that energy efficiency increases.

The buildings that have been selected are separated into two groups.

One group contains 17 public buildings located across Seoul, while six are public buildings in urban redevelopment “new-deal” districts.

The “new-deal” areas are neighborhoods where the government has approved and financed large-scale gentrification projects.

According to the ministry, Jeongdong Theater, Korea’s first modern stage theater, was originally opened as Wongaksa in 1908.

Other buildings include the Korea National Diplomatic Academy in Seocho District, southern Seoul, and the Seoul prosecutors’ northern district office in Dobong District, northern Seoul.

“The government will lead in the public sector so that other outdated buildings can undergo similar changes to improve energy efficiency,” said a ministry official.

The government estimated that if all residential buildings that are older than 20 years were remodeled to improve efficiency, it would save the equivalent amount of power as 14 thermal power reactors with an annual output of 250 megawatts or 3.5 nuclear reactors.

This would save the government 160 trillion won ($140.1 billion) over 30 years in energy spending.

Buildings are the second largest energy users, after industrial use.

Roughly 70 percent of all buildings in Korea are 15 years old or older, while 36 percent are more than 30 years old.

Improving energy efficiency is expected to reduce fine dust emissions.

The government currently plans to introduce a supplementary budget proposal that will include funds for reducing fine dust pollution.

BY LEE HO-JEONG [lee.hojeong@joongang.co.kr]
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