We get excited by the prospect of elevating existing buildings to newer standards of operation, improved comfort, healthier environments, and enhanced resilience for systems and people. We simply cannot meet future carbon goals without bringing the existing building stock along. According to Architecture2030, buildings account for nearly 40% of greenhouse gas emissions globally. With over 300 billion square feet of built environment in the US, we cannot ignore the impact of these existing buildings.
Studies begin with a meticulous review of building envelopes for synergistic and energy saving modifications to support MEP system changes. We thoroughly review existing building fabric and systems, original construction details, and take a deep dive with facilities personnel to inform our recommendations and reports. In the case of MIT’s Building 66, we provided actionable plans for potential replacement of the monumental plate glass windows. Minimizing the energy consumption of I.M. Pei’s pristine modernist building while simultaneously preserving its streamlined design profiles gets to the heart of our passion for sustainable and affordable architectural solutions that respect history and context.
A building doesn’t have to be on the historic registry to warrant reuse. There can be multiple financial, environmental and social benefits to adaptive reuse. We utilize several tools for understanding the embodied carbon impacts of renovation compared to starting from scratch. As technical architects who are closely engaged with the building, the client, and the CM, we take a holistic view of constructability and budgetary constraints in our recommendations.