The CARE Tool (formerly the 2Build or not 2Build Calculator) is used for calculating and comparing the embodied, operating and avoided carbon impacts and benefits of reusing and upgrading existing buildings or replacing them with new construction.
Renovating an existing structure usually has a much lower carbon footprint than building new because renovations typically reuse most of the carbon intensive parts of the building — the foundation, structure and building envelope. Retrofitting an existing building can also dramatically reduce its operating emissions. This makes building reuse an important climate action strategy.
The CARE Tool was created to be a simple, easy-to-use tool to put numbers to this intuitive knowledge by comparing variables of embodied and operating carbon over different timeframes for reuse versus replacement. It can be used by policymakers, planners, building owners, developers, heritage building officers, architects, and others who are interested in a pre- or early-design, high-level assessment of the total carbon emissions of building reuse versus replacement.
The CARE Tool is now a project of Architecture 2030.
Seed funding for the CARE Tool has been provided by a 2020 One Workplace ONEder Grant and a 2021 Moe Family Fund Grant through the National Trust for Historic Preservation via the Boston Preservation Alliance. To learn more about the tool and why building reuse is climate action, watch the webinars below.