Is New Construction Greener Than Renovation?
Is new construction greener than renovation? Turns out, the answer is “no.”
There is a saying that “the greenest building is the one that is already built and the most sustainable thing we can do is to not build new stuff.”
As climate concerns heat up (no pun intended), architects strive for new ways to reduce energy use. A good chunk of new construction uses green methods and materials to try and reduce the carbon footprint of new buildings, but untapped opportunities still exist in reusing existing structures.
A study of commercial and residential buildings in Portland, Phoenix, Chicago, and Atlanta revealed the potential for large carbon impact reduction by comparing the relative environmental impacts of building reuse and renovation vs. new construction over an assumed 75-year lifetime.
Contrary to popular belief, the benefits of reusing and renovating buildings outweighed the benefits of constructing new energy-efficient structures. According to the study, a new building that is 30% more efficient than the average building takes 10 to 80 years to overcome the negative climate change impacts resulting from construction.
So while the materials used in new construction certainly are green, the greenest building may be the one you already own.
At St. Cloud Window we make it possible re-use existing buildings to their full potential by:
– Replicating historic window profiles with custom, energy-efficiency, high-performance, aluminum windows,
– Using aluminum extrusions that are comprised of more the 70% recycled aluminum, and
– Fully recycling all ‘cut off’ materials left over from fabrication.
Virtually every component used in St. Cloud Window products can be recycled beyond their OEM design.
For more ways to maximize your window requirements, check out our guide to choosing the right high-efficiency windows.