To date, the focus in the field of sustainable building has been on new building design. However, existing residential buildings inflict great environmental burden through three causes: continuous energy consumption, regular building maintenance and replacements.
This publication analyses and compares these three causes of environmental burden and shows that material resources needed for replacements generally have a limited potential to reduce environmental impact. Reducing energy consumption for climate control and electrical appliances is much more effective. According to the author, sustainable measures should be tested for shifts in the kind of environmental impact caused due to the use of alternative types of energy resources and altered material quantities. The sustainability of the electricity supply is essential to decrease the total environmental impact of the residential building stock.
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