Old is the new green! Or put another way: the greenest building is the building already built. Reuse - adaptive redevelopment of existing buildings - meets sustainability goals in several ways.
First, repurposing existing buildings pairs new investment with existing infrastructure, and often provides an opportunity for private funds to rebuild or upgrade infrastructure. Surrounding streets, water and wastewater systems, and systems for energy distribution and telecommunication usually already exist. Reusing buildings also can be part of a pedestrian-oriented community revitalization program and an effective strategy for creating or expanding mixed use districts.
Second, reusing the energy and materials embodied in existing buildings avoids the energy and resource use associated with constructing a new building, while still allowing new investment within the community.
Finally and not least, existing buildings (especially older ones) are frequently beautiful and imbued with the historic character and civic legacy of the community, both in the building itself and in the setting around the existing building. Advances in building technology, strategies for flexible space use and the resources of the historic preservation movement make reuse today more economically affordable and socially beneficial than in past years.