Why retaining buildings is a better plan

Many resources are available telling us why retaining and rehabilitating buildings is a better environmental  option than demolishing buildings.


The case for … never demolishing another building https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2020/jan/13/the-case-for-never-demolishing-another-building

Architecture Schools Begin to Put Embodied Carbon Front and Center https://www.architecturalrecord.com/articles/15823-architecture-schools-begin-to-put-embodied-carbon-front-and-center/

Climate-Conscious Architects Want Europe To Build Less https://time.com/6205376/green-architecture-europe-retrofitting-buildings/

Getty Conservation Institute https://www.facebook.com/GettyConservationInstitute/

Preservation Green Lab: Value of Building Reuse  https://sustainableconservation.ca/sustainable-conservation/value-of-building-re-use/

Architects’ Journal, “Retrofit of existing buildings is cost-effective and generally less controversial, because it conserves and enhances existing places and neighbourhoods. As for carbon emissions, retrofit makes sense because of the substantial embodied energy savings made in repurposing existing buildings, compared with the ultra-high embodied energy costs of demolition and rebuild.”

The Preservation Leadership Forum of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, “Building reuse typically offers greater environmental savings than demolition and new construction… Reusing existing buildings is good for the economy, the community and the environment.”

Journal of Architectural Conservation, “Two key benefits of building retention and adaptation, over demolition and new build are: the conservation of heritage, and reductions in embodied greenhouse gas emissions from construction materials…To reduce the impact of construction on the environment it is crucial that we calculate the embodied as well as operational impacts of demolition decisions and retain and refurbish buildings where this is the lower carbon choice.”

How to measure embodied energy in building materials: A tool for calculating how concrete and steel contribute to climate change. https://www.treehugger.com/embodied-energy-in-building-materials-5441578

Let’s rename “Embodied Carbon” to “Upfront Carbon Emissions” https://www.treehugger.com/lets-rename-embodied-carbon-upfront-carbon-emissions-4855487

Material Baseline Report, July 2021, Carbon Leadership Forum. https://carbonleadershipforum.org/2021-material-baseline-report/

Looking for the “Greenest” Building? Start with the one that already exists. https://forum.savingplaces.org/HigherLogic/System/DownloadDocumentFile.ashx?DocumentFileKey=42215e77-adc1-008a-2000-0a0da46bb9ed&forceDialog=0

Preservation Green Lab: Value of Building Reuse. Sustainable Conservation. https://sustainableconservation.ca/sustainable-conservation/value-of-building-re-use/

RetroFirst: Introducing RetroFirst: a new AJ campaign championing reuse in the build environment. https://www.architectsjournal.co.uk/news/introducing-retrofirst-a-new-aj-campaign-championing-reuse-in-the-built-environment/

 Why Is Canada Tearing Down Its Architectural History? Buildings are made to last. Should they be built to fall?” BY J. R. MCCONVEY, Published 11:25, Sep. 28, 2022, The Walrus https://thewalrus.ca/why-is-canada-tearing-down-its-architectural-history/

How to Recycle a 14-Story Office Tower: Buildings are responsible for nearly 40 percent of the world’s carbon emissions. In Amsterdam, they are trying to create a blueprint to do something about it. https://www.nytimes.com/2022/10/06/headway/office-tower-carbon-emissions-amsterdam.html