Want to Go Green? Get Old. . .

. . . Buildings, that is.  According to a recent study released by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, older buildings may make the best green investment:

The Greenest Building explores the environmental impacts associated with the decision to demolish and replace existing buildings – and especially the carbon dioxide savings that might be offered by reusing and retrofitting these places instead of demolishing them. With generous funding from The Summit Foundation, this effort brought together a team of leading thinkers with unparalleled expertise in building and life cycle science. The study team included Cascadia Green Building Council, Green Building Services, Quantis, and Skanska. . . .

Notable study findings include:

  • Building reuse typically yields fewer environmental impacts than new construction when comparing buildings of similar size, functionality and energy efficiency. This result was found to be true irrespective of climate – though differences in climate can affect the extent of savings
  • The absolute carbon-related impact reductions can be substantial when these results are scaled across the building stock of a city. Consider this example: In Portland, Oregon retrofitting just one percent of the city’s office buildings and single family homes that would otherwise be demolished and rebuilt over the next ten years would help to meet 15 percent of the entire county’s total CO2 reduction targets. . . .

You can download the full report as a PDF here.

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