If you have an old building that doesn’t meet your definition of a “sustainable structure,” you want to restore it using the least resources possible. A solution would be to remodel the property instead of demolishing it and building a new one. This is not only a sustainable option but also an economical one. We have explained how you can restore an old building to become environmentally friendly and the benefits you stand to gain.

How to Turn an Old Building into a Sustainable/Green One?

Building owners and managers often assume that sustainability enhancements are expensive or will severely disrupt their building plans and operations. All of that, however, is untrue. An entire rebuild or specific architectural/ hardware revamp is not always necessary to make a building sustainable. Here are some ideas on how to turn an old building into a sustainable one:

  • Insulate the building. Building insulation significantly lowers energy costs by reducing heat loss. It also avoids moisture condensation and improves acoustic performance by lowering noise levels.
  • Introduce renewable sources of energy. You can achieve this by installing solar panels on the roof and integrating them with your existing electrical system.
  • Automate your HVAC. Conventional HVAC systems cannot automatically change their throttle in response to shifting occupancy levels or outdoor weather conditions. This results in significant energy losses.
  • Use LEDs: You can save up to 75% of your energy just by switching out your regular light bulbs for LEDs. The savings increase even further when operating at lower power levels.
  • Utilize water: Installing low-flow showerheads, urinals, and faucets in your washrooms can help you save more water. Additionally, you can start collecting, treating, and utilizing rainwater.
  • Introduce natural illumination or lighting: It is possible to incorporate natural light into an old building without making significant architectural changes. Any outdated structure can be naturally lit by using light shelves, skylights, light pipes, solar shading, and light redirecting devices.
  • Introducing electric vehicle charging points. You can promote the use of electric vehicles by installing an EV charging infrastructure at your facility, whether residential or commercial.

What it Takes to Preserve/Remodel an Old Building

Depending on the condition of the old building, the remodeling process may be a bit demanding. For instance, older businesses may need to have asbestos removed by a team of professionals as this material has been linked to severe health conditions. You may also need some mold remediation or biohazard cleaning services, all of which must be done with due care and diligence.

If there are unavoidable renovations, ensure that you are disposing of materials used in the renovation process appropriately. When dealing with larger volumes of waste, it’s advisable to seek commercial trash removal services. Besides asbestos abatement and mold removal, other services you may need include lead abatement and debris removal. Always seek professional guidance before running a home or business remodeling exercise.

Benefits of preserving an old building

Preserving an old building while turning it into a sustainable or green structure has several benefits. We have listed some of the most obvious below.

  • You save embodied energy. This is the total energy used in the extraction, manufacturing, processing, and transportation of building materials to the construction site. An immediate benefit of older buildings is that they already exist; as a result, you will save energy by not having to demolish or start the construction process afresh.
  • You reduce debris from being dumped in the landfill. By preserving old buildings, less construction and demolition waste will be generated.
  • There’s existing usable space. Older structures offer usable space that is quicker to occupy.
  • Reuse of infrastructure. You can upgrade old building systems to meet modern building requirements and codes without investing in costly inventory.
  • Retention of history. Older structures have cultural and historical significance as well. They serve as a link to the past by preserving texture, craftsmanship, and style.

Get Started Today

Regardless of your building design or remodeling needs, you can achieve what you want, provided you know where to start. Ideally, you want to start by mapping out sustainability goals and then evaluating what’s doing and what’s not. Always seek to minimize the destruction of existing structures and focus on resource utilization while enhancing their natural feel and look.

Author

Rethinking The Future (RTF) is a Global Platform for Architecture and Design. RTF through more than 100 countries around the world provides an interactive platform of highest standard acknowledging the projects among creative and influential industry professionals.

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