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Posts Tagged ‘adaptive reuse’

New Tricks With Old Bricks: How reusing old buildings can cut carbon emissions

Many house builders claim that new homes are four times more efficient than older houses. This study shows that refurbished houses can be just as efficient as new homes.



“New properties are “greener” than older ones”. – Sunday Times October 2006.

“New homes are more environmentally friendly and sustainable than at any time in
recent history” – Home Builders’ Federation 2007.

New homes are over four times more energy-efficient than older homes and therefore
‘greener’. – Smart New Homes 2007.

“New homes can be up to eight times more efficient than a typical Victorian property.”
– Peveril homes 2007.

It is increasingly common for developers to make environmental claims for the
buildings they produce. A significant body of wider opinion holds that demolition of
existing housing and replacement with new housing (built to high energy efficiency
standards) is broadly preferable in many cases to refurbishment.  A key foundation of
this argument is that the operational (in-use) carbon emissions of highly efficient newly
build housing can be far lower than those from existing properties.  Often these claims
are well founded. It is undoubtedly true for example that new homes are better
insulated than homes built in the past; when the majority of the UK’s older houses
were built there were no mandatory standards governing energy efficiency or
thermal comfort. Some claims however are harder to quantify. Assertions of the
superior environmental performance of new housing are sometimes used by
developers and regeneration planners to justify supplanting existing homes with new
homes. It is also sometimes used to explain building new developments when there is
an existing supply of unused buildings that could be used.

This approach has profound implications for the whole housing stock.  For example,
the Environmental Change Institute at Oxford University has set out a “vision” in which
the rate of house demolition in the UK would rise to 80,000 per year by 2016,
continuing at that level until 2050, giving a total of 3.2 million demolitions from 2005-

A contrary argument also exists and is increasingly used by environmental
campaigners and heritage organisations in promoting alternatives to new
development. Their argument is that new buildings consume huge quantities of energy
in their development, energy that could be saved by reusing existing buildings.  In
addition, the high standards of energy efficiency assumed for new buildings are
entirely dependent on enforcement and achievement of very high construction

There are also critical elements missing from the calculation: the carbon embodied in
existing buildings, the energy required to demolish them and dispose of any waste
(around 24% of all waste is generated by demolition and construction4), and the
energy cost of extraction, production, transport and use of new materials – not to
mention the wider environmental effects of minerals extraction and demolition and
construction disturbance.

(accessed at www.adaptivereuse.net)

Now consider the potential for Dayton’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program to act as an anchor for Green renewal efforts:

NSP Neighborhood Stabilization Program, NSP

The Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA) of 2008 was passed by the U.S. Congress and signed by the President on July 30, 2008. The legislation contained $3.92 billion in Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) funding.

On September 29, 2008, the City of Dayton was awarded a special allocation of $5,582,902 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to be used for foreclosed and abandoned properties in the City as part of the NSP. You may view the Notice in the Federal register at nspnotice.pdf.

Eligible uses of the NSP funds includes:

* Establish temporary land banks of abandoned or foreclosed properties to facilitate redevelopment;
* Demolish blighted structures;
* Purchase foreclosed or abandoned parcels
* Redevelop vacant, abandoned or foreclosed properties; and
* Offer purchase and redevelopment assistance to income-eligible buyers of foreclosed or abandoned properties.

Read More from the City of Dayton…

And checkout the final Substantial Amendment…

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