World earth day and Balancing Heritage with Sustainability
We are BIG advocates for making better use of what we have and the below article from Historic England is very appropriate for World earth day (22.04.21).
The article 'Buildings Must Be Recycled and Reused to Help Tackle Climate Change', discusses the government’s target of being carbon neutral by 2050. According to this year’s Heritage Counts report we must recycle, reuse and responsibly adapt our existing historic buildings - a cause that is very close to our core practice principles.
"It is often assumed that the CO2-reduction benefits gained by a new, energy efficient building outweigh any negative climate change impacts associated with the construction of that building. This study finds that it takes 10 to 80 years for a new building that is 30 percent more efficient than an average-per-forming existing building to overcome, through efficient operations, the negative climate change impacts related to the construction process".
Sympathetically upgrading and reusing existing buildings rather than demolishing to make way for new is the obvious answer for dramatically improving a building’s energy efficiency - embodied energy is so frequently forgotten or not considered at all. To address this over the coming years, serious investment is needed in heritage skills and considered retrofit practice. Incentivising this approach to building owners would also go a long way towards making this a reality.
In my experience, the greenest approach with older buildings is to Stabilise-In-Place (SIP) rather than Rip-Out-And-Replace (ROAR) every time.
The full article can be found here;