We can’t build our way out of this
The current gold standard for reducing GHG emissions from buildings is to build new, net zero energy (NZE) buildings. While this is a critical piece of getting to a carbon neutral built environment, there are two problems:
- Building all of those new structures will generate a lot of embodied emissions. Emissions from materials and construction are on the order of 10 years worth of operating emissions.
- We already have a lot of existing buildings generating GHG emissions – In the U.S. about 1/3 of total GHG emissions are from operating existing buildings.
Reuse and upgrade addresses both of these issues. Building reuse – even with renovations and upgraded results in significantly lower embodied emissions than new construction and upgrading existing buildings is the only way we are going to reduce emissions from existing buildings.
- Identify practitioners, researchers and policymakers working in the building reuse and upgrade fields
- Identify research needed, including statistics on existing buildings, renovations and energy upgrades
- Identify barriers to building reuse and energy upgrades
- Develop policies, data and strategies to support building reuse and energy upgrades
Taskforce Chair: Larry Strain, Siegel and Strain