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Should You Renovate an Older Building for Your New Office?

Office Renovation

As discussed in previous blogs, retrofitting older buildings with modular offices rather than build new helps improve efficiency, thus reducing overall costs. But what are the benefits of renovating a building versus building a brand new one? Renovating can:

  • Can be done in stages
  • Reduce climate change impacts
  • Have money-saving incentives

Construct in Stages

By retrofitting your building with modular offices, the construction can be done in stages instead of all at once, especially if you have a limited budget. Budget constraints are the main reason why many businesses don’t participate in green retrofitting. By completing smaller projects when you need them, you can save up for the next project and be sure that it is what is wanted.

Reduce the Impact of Climate Change

Areas like the Midwest that predominately depend on coal as a source of energy can greatly benefit from retrofits. With the greater concentration of coal plants, retrofitting with more sustainable buildings can reduce coal use and by extension, carbon-related impacts on the environment. In addition, renovating an old building rather than demolishing it can reduce construction waste.

Use the Right Building Materials

The materials used in retrofitting greatly impact whether or not it should be done. If you do not carefully choose what materials are used, the environmental benefits can decrease significantly. For example, converting a warehouse requires larger material use and thus, reuse is less than what would be had in a smaller building.

According to the EPA, about 30 percent of construction and demolition debris is recovered for recycling. These materials include, but are not limited to:

  • Concrete
  • Asphalt
  • Metals
  • Wood

Materials that cannot be reused (or “red list materials”) include:

  • Wood treatments containing creosote, arsenic, or other
  • Halogenated flame retardants
  • Asbestos

Receive Tax Deductions

While development regulations often favor new building constructions, retrofitting your building to be more energy efficient can also come with some tax incentives. For U.S. commercial buildings, energy efficient retrofit incentives are primarily based on deductions on a per square foot basis. For example, if a building reduces their energy use by 50 percent, they can get a deduction of $1.80 per square foot.

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