2020-01-29

Sustainability and Retrofitting: Where Past Meets Present to Protect the Future

Opportunities for planet-friendly, sustainable architecture abound when designing a brand new building. New materials, methods, and technology are helping increase efficiency and reduce waste. This helps minimize the effects of new construction on climate change. But that doesn’t mean older buildings can’t do their part. Improving existing structures can make them leaner and cleaner for years to come.

Renovating existing construction does more than conserve materials. It brings many opportunities to increase efficiency in energy and water systems, improve interior air quality and ventilation, and contribute to a building’s longevity. LEED accredited professionals, like those on our team of San Luis Obispo architects, analyze existing data and client needs to create integrated, whole-building design strategies that allow for upgrades and retrofits of many systems.

Mindfully planned renovations can include many innovative features and use technology to monitor and reduce consumption of water and power, lower waste production, and generate energy on-site.

Insulation and a cool roof or green roof can make a big difference in heat generation and loss. Natural ventilation can be improved using sensor-driven technology that opens, closes, or shades windows as conditions demand.

Photovoltaic solar installations on rooftops may provide much of a building’s power. Awnings with solar panels installed in parking areas can bring additional solar power and prolong vehicle life by protecting paint jobs and keeping interiors safe from the sun while lowering auto interior temperatures.

Today’s heating and cooling systems use technology to improve environmental conditions zone by zone using delivery systems that diminish loss. Replacement of windows and fine-tuning of the building envelope will help new heating and cooling systems operate even more efficiently.

Replacing or retrofitting lighting systems to use LED bulbs and direct light where it’s needed can make noticeable differences as well. Sensors can also be used to analyze and control lighting and balance resource use in unoccupied spaces.

Updated water systems and fixtures can cut waste of both water and the power used to heat it.

Improved bicycle parking and exterior areas that encourage employees to stay on-site during breaks both improve air quality through trip reduction.

Our sustainability experts at Studio Design Group Architects, Inc. love data-driven decisions, so we recommend a period of monitoring, data gathering, and analysis before embarking on a renovation project. We also encourage ongoing evaluations after renovations and retrofits are complete. If you’re ready to discuss how your old building can find a bright, new future, feel free to drop us a line, or give us a call at (805) 541-3848.

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