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Remodeling as a stepping stone to green

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    Bob Scheulen

    Remodeling is usually challenging and expensive, but its also the primary opportunity to reduce a building’s footprint (mostly energy use) in the future. But remodeling itself is a very energy intensive process, so in some sense the greenest remodel is none at all. Yet many buildings are energy hogs, and there are far more existing buildings than new ones, so the only way to eventually lower the energy footprint taken up by building operations requires remodeling. So the question is how does one decide?

    The real problem is that most decisions are due to the building having “dated” interior finishes, which really makes one think that a key change is to reduce the amount of ‘trendy” design….today’s trends are tomorrows avocado toilets that end up in the landfill. Its unfortunate that fixing those things often leaves little budget for addition insulation, air sealing etc.

    Christopher Alexander (the pattern language guy) talks about “a timeless way of building”, but it seems we’re not even close to that.

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