While it might seam like the climate crisis is so big that there is nothing we can do to change things according to Architecture 2030.org there is hope!:
“As of 2010, the total U.S. building stock is approximately 275 billion square feet. During normal economic times, we tear down approximately 1.75 billion square feet of buildings each year. Every year, we renovate approximately 5 billion square feet. Every year, we build new approximately 5 billion square feet. Herein lies the hope. By the year 2035, approximately three-quarters (75%) of the built environment will be either new or renovated. This transformation over the next 25 years represents a historic opportunity for the architecture and building community to avoid dangerous climate change.”
This is an optimistic and true point. If we can renovate our buildings to be more energy efficient and design all or our new buildings to be more energy efficient our total energy usage as a country will significantly fall.
Sustainable renovations should encompass the following:
1. Insulate – This is truly one of the most inexpensive things you can do. If possible use spray foam insulation but BATT will suffice. Make sure to insulate attics and raised levels, a majority of your heat loss will be in these locations.
2. Update the fenestration – Single Pane Glazing is a huge source of heat loss and heat gain.
3. Shade windows receiving direct gain. Especially in climates such as Austin where our year round sun can be brutal. In small renovations it is not usually feasible to change the orientation of the windows so if they are facing South, East or West make sure to provide sufficient shade.
4. Seal up the holes! Make sure to caulk around windows and make sure any AC ducts that you have don’t have leaks, letting energy flow into your attic or other unconditioned space.
We are happy to provide consultation on more sustainable renovation ideas. Visit our website and drop us a note! Clark Richardson Architects