The Greenest Building: Quantifying the Environmental Value of Building Reuse
Booklets, Fact Sheets, & Publications
Adaptive Reuse

Until now, little has been known about the climate change reductions that might be offered by reusing and retrofitting existing buildings. This groundbreaking study by the National Trust for Historic Preservation Research and Policy Lab concludes that building reuse almost always offers environmental savings over demolition and new construction. Moreover, it can take between 10 and 80 years for a new, energy-efficient building to overcome, through more efficient operations, the negative climate change impacts that were created during the construction process. However, care must be taken in the selection of construction materials in order to minimize environmental impacts; the benefits of reuse can be reduced or negated based on the type and quantity of materials selected for a reuse project.

 

This research provides the most comprehensive analysis to date of the potential environmental impact reductions associated with building reuse. Utilizing a Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) methodology, the study compares the relative environmental impacts of building reuse and renovation versus new construction over the course of a 75-year life span. LCA is an internationally recognized approach to evaluating the potential environmental and human health impacts associated with products and services throughout their respective life cycles.1 This study examines indicators within four environmental impact categories, including climate change, human health, ecosystem quality, and resource depletion. It tests six different building typologies, including a single-family home, multifamily building, commercial office, urban village mixed-use building, elementary school, and warehouse conversion. 

Download the full report here, or see the executive summary attached.  

Other Resources

Boston Harborwalk-A Public Access Map of Boston's Coastline

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Back Bay Houses

Boston’s Back Bay is a miracle of preservation.

Piano Row: Cycles of History

Piano Row: Cycles of History is an original film documentary about the evolution of Bost

Historic Ladder Blocks—An Endangered Resource in Downtown Boston

With no local protection or means of preventing demolition, the Ladder Blocks are at great risk o

Boston Modern: The Spirit of Reinvention

Boston Modern: The Spirit of Reinvention events and booklet are part of the Modern Module program

Boston's Changing Neighborhoods

On February 4, 2016 the Boston Preservation Alliance hosted an Urban Forum: “Boston’s Changi

Easements as a Tool for Preservation

Here in Boston there are a few ways we can protect a building or other historic resource.

City of Boston Archives

201 Rivermoor Street
West Roxbury, MA 02132
(617) 635-1195

Neighborhood Preservation Workshops

The Boston Preservation Alliance’s Neighborhood Preservation Workshop was a pilot program that ra

Inspectional Services Department (ISD)

1010 Massachusetts Avenue
5th Floor
Boston, MA 02118
(617) 635-5300

Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA)

One City Hall Square
Floor 9
Boston, MA 02201
(617) 722-4300

Boston Landmarks Commission (BLC)

City of Boston Departments and Commissions

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