Over the next 30 years, about half of the entire building stock in the U.S. will need renovation, based on an article in the ASHRAE Journal January 2008 edition. It estimates 86% of expenditures in building construction relate to renovation of existing buildings. Looking at these statistics, a great opportunity lies in the reduction of energy within these existing buildings.
Supporting this study, Preservation Green Lab used life-cycle analysis methods to compare new construction versus renovation over a 75-year life span in 2009. The study shows that, when comparing buildings of equivalent size and function, building reuse almost always offers environmental savings over demolition and new construction.
In February 2007, The “2030 Challenge” began listing buildings as the major source of global demand for energy and materials that produce by-product greenhouse gases (GHG). Slowing the growth rate of the GHG emissions, or a better thought, radically reversing is the key to addressing climate change.
At www.architecture2030.org a list of several aggressive challenges and targets to the architecture and building communities can be found. In order to meet these targets the implementing of innovative sustainable design strategies, generating on-site renewable power and purchasing renewable energy.
In the “2030 Challenge” a milestone lies in wait at the year 2015. The “Challenge” journey started in 2003, it is 2012 and the timeline at www.architecture2030.org/about/timeline shows many policy organizations and councils adopting the challenges, but not until February 2012 did the first product manufacturer adopt the 2030 challenge for products.
With all the reports on the advantages on the reuse of existing buildings and the Architecture 2030 Challenge to reduce GHG-emissions, in 2011 and 2012 new construction increased. Forbes magazine in 2012 published an article quoting McGraw-Hill Construction projecting a 7% national increase in new construction. New York City lands No. 1 on the new construction list with the Gotham West, a massive $520 million residential project on Manhattan’s Far West Side slated for completion in 2014.
Whether a new or existing building, can the "2030 Challenge" make the impact it needs to reduce GHG-emissions by the 2015 milestone? It’s only 2 years away.