Sustainable Living: 3M FuturewiseTown PlanIntroductionGo BackGo Next: Eco design principles3M

responsible construction

Reducing energy use in homes and construction

Adapting existing buildings

There are far fewer new buildings being constructed in Ireland than there are existing buildings. It is usually much more energy efficient to renovate and adapt old buildings than build entirely new buildings. Existing buildings are adapted for a number of reasons:

  • to change the building's purpose
    (e.g. from warehouses to homes, or shops to offices).
  • to add space by creating a new room or extension.
  • to save energy.

Any adaptations must be planned carefully and done by experts so that the fabric of the building isn't damaged. Different building materials need to be treated in different ways.
For example, adding external insulation to the outside of a building is a good way to save energy in certain buildings, but sometimes it can reduce moisture-loss from a building so much that the timbers and walls of the buildings start to rot and crumble. This would
reduce the lifetime of the building and therefore decrease its sustainability.

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