Illustrations: Above, the symbol for the Embedawatt, as envisioned by AARCH staff; and below a Medium Sized House Energy Chart courtesy of Jerry Jenkins (from Climate Change in the Adirondacks).
Assuming the new house is more energy efficient than an existing house, it still takes an average of 40 years for an energy efficient new house to recover the energy and carbon expended in the construction of the house (Empty Homes Agency, 2008).
Source: Embedawatt: Valuing What We Have – – The Adirondack Almanack
credit: Circular Ecology
Embodied energy is the energy consumed by all of the processes associated with the production of a building, from the mining and processing of natural resources to manufacturing, transport and product delivery. Embodied energy does not include the operation and disposal of the building material, which would be considered in a life cycle approach. Embodied energy is the ‘upstream’ or ‘front-end’ component of the life cycle impact of a home.
Source: Does embodied energy really matter in green building? : TreeHugger
The embodied energy of the existing building, a term expressing the cost of resources in both human labour and materials consumed during the building’s construction and use, is squandered when the building is allowed to decay or be demolished.
Source: Sustainable Design – What Does it Really Mean?
According to a 2012 study, retrofitting an old building to make it 30% more energy-efficient is greener than building a new one with the same energy use. In other words: saving factories makes sustainability and business sense.
In Philadelphia, a former manufacturing capital that no longer needs its factories, residents can now choose to live in the Rag Flats, a former rag factory, or the Capital Flats, a former meat-packing plant. Both have been turned into modern apartment buildings featuring roof gardens, solar panels, and water collection. “This city used to be an industrial hub and no longer is, but people are moving back into the city”, explained Timothy McDonald, president of Onion Flats, the firm behind the Rag Flats and Capital Flats conversion. “These kinds of buildings aren’t built anymore. And look at the effects of global warming. Saving buildings like these is just common sense.”
via Turning ageing barracks and forgotten factories into sustainable housing | Guardian Sustainable Business | Guardian Professional.