Friday, January 16, 2009

New Life for Old Buildings: Adaptive Reuse | GreenerBuildings

Kirsten Ritchie, the director of sustainable design with Gensler in San Francisco, talks with Greener Buildings Associate Editor Leslie Guevarra about adaptive reuse. Adaptive reuse gives new life to buildings from the earlier part of the (20th) century that were designed to optimize their performance in the passive state, or taking advantage of solar orientation and natural ventilation. The discussion makes the case for combining retrofitting and green design to maximize energy savings.

Ritchie talks about the scale of the endeavor,
"...if we really want to do something about our energy consumption and we really want to do something about the carbon issue, we have to get, we have to improve the performance of the existing building stock big time. We have over 300 billion square feet of buildings in the United States that are already built and we have a lot of great green rating systems that are out there kind of more focused on new construction.

To get our energy down, we've got to go after those 300 billion square feet of existing building and by going into an existing building, adapting its reuse, improving its performance, being smarter about how you manage — for example, manage daylight and provide thermal comfort, we can significantly reduce the energy consumption associated with the operating of that building as well." (Emphasis mine.)
And comments on the practical, social and aesthetic rationale of adaptive reuse.
"...think of adaptive reuse is really the ultimate in terms of green building because you are taking full advantage of the materials that are there. You also have the history of the place which certainly speaks to green building and building the sense of community which is so important from a sustainable perspective."
New Life for Old Buildings: Adaptive Reuse | GreenerBuildings