13 Aug 2012
This Should NOT Shock You But… It’s Greener to Retrofit than Build New, Report Finds
Brand new green buildings are always white hot.
But experts have long been touting the environmental benefit of green buildings’ slightly less sexy cousin: Retrofitting existing buildings with green upgrades.
Now there is proof.
A groundbreaking report released earlier this year found that it is unequivocally greener to retrofit an old building than construct a new green building, no matter how many high-tech bells and whistles are in the new construction. “The Greenest Building: Quantifying the Environmental Value of Building Reuse,” was commissioned by Preservation Green Lab, a project of the National Trust for Historic Preservation with support from The Summit Foundation and in partnership with four companies, including Skanska Group.
The numbers add up in favor of retrofits
The report states: It can take between 10 and 80 years for a new energy-efficient building to overcome, through more efficient operations, the negative climate change impacts that come from construction. Environmental savings from re-use are between 4 and 46 percent over new construction when comparing buildings with the same energy performance level.
And it’s a huge marketplace. In any given year, only about 1 percent of the building stock in the U.S. is new. You can see the impact of green retro versus green new in the stats from the U.S. Green Building Council, which saw LEED certification for existing buildings (LEED EB) start to outpace LEED for new construction (LEED NC) in 2011. That trend has continued so far this year with LEED EB logging in 25.3 million more square feet than LEED NC. (NREI) READ MORE….