At SERF, we hold with the maxim that the greenest building is the one that is already built.
Except when we don’t.
It is generally the case that the reuse of an existing structure is a more sustainable route, even measured over a long time period, than demolition, disposal and construction of a new building, even one chalk full of energy-saving bells and whistles.
But as new systems—many of which are cost-prohibitive to install in existing buildings– lead to ever greater efficiencies, we see that maxims are not rules. The path to determining the sustainable benefit of building new versus reuse lies in Life Cycle Analysis (LCA).
SERF Foundation’s Director of Research Stan Samuel has co-authored a white paper on Life Cycle Analysis and its potential to aid green building rating systems compare reuse versus new construction
Download a copy here