[Greenbuilding] CF analysis of tearing down a house vs. renovation?

Gennaro Brooks-Church - Eco Brooklyn info at ecobrooklyn.com
Tue Jul 23 11:06:14 MDT 2013

Thanks John for that recap of the article. Now I don't have to read it. :)

On Tuesday, July 23, 2013, John Salmen wrote:

> Thanks for the article.
> What was interesting was the ranking of strategies.  High efficiency hvac
> and insulation being the most effective for energy savings with air control
> about 60% of those. What was also interesting is the comparison of pre-use
> (construction) energy of the standard house versus a energy efficient
> house.
> Standard being 6.1% of total energy and EE being 16%. Bad math would them
> imply about a 6% increase in the carbon footprint of the new EE
> construction
> (penalty of not utilizing existing energy expenditure??)
> My answer from a design/build knee jerk perspective would be that
> renovation
> is preferable for simple reasons. If the basic footprint and layout is
> modest in size and has no huge design flaws any existing structure can be
> insulated, made air tight and have a new energy system. Most significant
> renovations take a building back to structure and the largest items in a
> building in terms of embodied energy are typically structure (foundation
> primarily).
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Greenbuilding [mailto:greenbuilding-bounces at lists.bioenergylists.org<javascript:;>
> ]
> On Behalf Of John Straube
> Sent: July-23-13 5:42 AM
> To: Green Building
> Subject: Re: [Greenbuilding] CF analysis of tearing down a house vs.
> renovation?
> Love to hear the answer.  The difference in before to after energy use will
> be a major determinant of the answer.
> Attached is a 1998 LCA of a house in Michigan.  They found 93% of the
> use over 50 years was due to operation, not embodied.  So materials and
> energy during construction is not that important in normal houses.  The
> question is, can you renovate to the same level of low energy performance?
> If that performance is quite low, embodied energy will be quote a large
> proportion.  If the building has a lifecycle of 75 or 100 years, then
> operation becomes more important.
> Complex question, but a worthy one!
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Gennaro Brooks-Church
Director, Eco Brooklyn Inc.
Cell: 1 347 244 3016 USA
22 2nd St; Brooklyn, NY 11231
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