- Reducing the use of new materials and their associated environmental impacts by extending the lifetime of materials that have already been manufactured and are in use.
- Protecting undeveloped land by reducing the pressure to construct new buildings and infrastructure on it.
- Reducing construction and demolition waste.
- Maintaining the cultural heritage of our existing building stock.
- If the reuse and new options have equal energy consumption, the 50-year CO2 impacts are 12% to 17% less for the reuse option.
- If the new options are 30% more energy efficient than the reuse options, the 50-year CO2 impacts are 1% to 12% less than the new options. In other words, even assuming significantly better energy performance for the new options, the differences in climate change impact over 50 years are relatively small. Over a 75-year time-frame, the 30% more energy-efficient new buildings emit 5% to 16% less carbon than the less efficient reused buildings.
Athena Sustainable Materials Institute (2009). A Life Cycle Assessment Study of Embodied Effects for Existing Historic Buildings, prepared for Parks Canada in association with Morrison Hershfield Limited (http://www.athenasmi.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Athena_LCA_for_Existing_Historic_Buildings.pdf).
Empty Homes Agency (2008). New Tricks with Old Bricks: How Reusing Old Buildings Can Cut Carbon Emissions (http://www.emptyhomes.com/empty-homes-publications-and-toolkits/empty-homes-publications/).
Preservation Green Lab (2011). The Greenest Building: Quantifying the Environmental Value of Building Reuse (http://www.preservationnation.org/information-center/sustainable-communities/green-lab/lca/The_Greenest_Building_lowres.pdf).