Encourage renovation of existing housing stock rather than demo and rebuild.
require new construction to be NET zero and help reduce single family house demolition. The greenest building is one that is already standing.
Financing tools (currently under development) may encourage building owners to improve the performance of their buildings rather than rebuild.
NOTE: Brenda M.'s idea "offer developers incentives to retrofit existing buildings rather than building new" has been merged with this one.
Every new building we add, unless it's actually regenerative, adds to our carbon and energy footprint. Rather than building new, why don't we offer incentives to developers to invest in upgrading existing buildings?
@Janine Brossard, do you have any photos of your house with all the salvaged materials? I'd love to see how that turned out.
Janine Brossard commented
There are so many great salvageable materials from old houses. Beautiful old growth interior doors, flooring, staircases, door/window moldings, hardware, cast iron tubs & radiators, metal railings. We recently salvaged lots for our new home. In the end it was not cheaper than buying new as it was more labour intensive to strip and customize. However the quality is superior and no trees had to be cut or metals mined. The majority of cost was in labour which is good for our local economy. It is sad to see houses being demolished without the chance to recover these valuable items. It would be great to see the City make it mandatory for any houses applying to be demolished to allow at least a month for removal of these items.
Where an existing home or building is to be demolished, it would be excellent if there was a requirement implemented by the City that the building be demolished in a way that all materials are either being salvaged for re-use, recycled into the new construction or other green use. Our government needs to control this. I have seen far too many homes being bulldozed and rushed off to the dumpster!
Kira Gerwing commented
There are many green jobs for people with barriers to employment that relate to buidling demolition, renovations, and retrofit projects.
AdminCOVSustainableDevel (Admin, CG2020) commented
The City of Vancouver Sustainability Group is currently working on adding energy efficiency upgrade requirements for people who are renovating their homes. The required upgrades are meant to offer the most 'bang for your buck' - meaning they are relatively cheap and simple to implement (even do-it-yourself) and offer energy use reductions and savings on utility bills. This will likely be enacted in 2011.
Pradeep K.Verma MBBS commented
Such a decision making might not be most prudent because in many cases demolition and rebuilding would be cheaper and smarter. It has to be an individual decision depending on location and several other factors.
Elle Zed commented
Actually, the embodied energy in a lot of older buildings is much less than the energy used to operate/heat the building. Building a new energy-efficient building might acutally use less energy over its life cycle than keeping the old gas-guzzling building. However I realize there are other impacts such as material extraction and demolition waste disposal that make renovating greener than demolition & construction.
Conversely, newer energy-efficient buildings may contain more embodied energy in their construction than they use to operate. So, newer buildings should be (1) built to last, (2) designed for energy-efficiency, (3) renovated not torn down for as long as possible and (4) dismantled for re-use (not disposal) if that time should come.