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Don’t demolish old buildings

Don’t demolish old buildings 24 September 2020

Don’t demolish old buildings, urge architects (via BBC News)

By Roger Harrabin

Footage of buildings being flattened in a noisy demolition may be a popular feature of local TV news reports, but architects say such structures should be protected – to fight climate change.

They say property owners should be incentivised to upgrade draughty buildings, not just knock them down.

That is because so much carbon is emitted by creating the steel, cement and bricks for new buildings.

The campaign by the Architects’ Journal is backed by 14 Stirling Prize winners

In the past there was debate about whether it was better for the climate to demolish an old energy–hungry building and build a well–insulated replacement.

But this is now widely considered a serious mistake because of the amount of carbon emitted during the construction of the new building.

The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) estimates that 35% of the lifecycle carbon from a typical office development is emitted before the building is even opened. It says the figure for residential premises is 51%.

These calculations suggest it will be decades before some new buildings pay back their carbon debt by saving more emissions than they created – and these are decades when carbon must be sharply reduced.

Read the full story here…