With all the homes on the market these days, new home construction has slowed dramatically – that is no secret. And some say that it is ‘greener’ to buy an existing home rather than building new. While this may be true in some circumstances, it is not always the case. Most existing homes need considerable remodeling to make them desirable and functional to the new owners – there is waste and the purchase/production of new materials involved. And what about energy efficiency? Most older homes will require new heating and cooling systems and their ductwork can be sub-par, not to mention the possibility of older windows and the gaps in the building envelope contributing to a loss in efficiency.
“New construction affords the opportunity to go beyond this for a higher degree of sustainability, with the focus on better vapor and air barriers for a tighter building envelope and the design of more efficient heating, cooling, and domestic hot water systems. Architects can also play a major role in new construction by designing a building form that can help to retain heat or even increase solar gain in colder months.”
-Joseph G. Metzler, AIA, CID, LEED AP of SALA Architects in Minneapolis, MN
While I love a good “fixer-upper”, I am also excited to see the progress that is being made in new construction and the focus on building better, healthier, more functional structures for living.