People are becoming more aware of the global climate emergency and questioning the role of the built environment in challenging this issue, particularly in terms of renovation and converting redundant buildings.
New build construction may provide more economical buildings that are better for the environment on an operational level, but a lot of energy is used to create the materials to construct them, such as concrete and steel, not to mention the continued threat to the environment as new properties take over more green spaces, or the problem with waste management from demolition.
While policymakers have long focused on reducing emissions from operating buildings, this is just a part of the story. There is a growing realisation that converting or renovating older buildings can be better for the environment than creating something new. The cost to the environment of demolition and rebuild is greater than renovation as there is embodied carbon within the structures of older buildings. In light of climate change, is it time to consider extending the useful life of our existing stock of buildings rather than replacing them?
Residential shortages are a serious problem, but in October 2019, UK parliament recorded that 648,114 houses in England were unused, not to mention the rest of the UK and the many larger public buildings that remain empty. The effects of the pandemic on demand for office space may also add to the numbers of empty buildings. There is clearly an opportunity to address some of these shortages through change of use and imaginative design.
Our products and systems have been used on many renovation and conversion projects over the last 30 years to bring redundant buildings back to life. With flexible brick slip systems to suit any project, we can provide solutions that not only transform the appearance but also offer excellent energy saving benefits as well as creating a healthier environment for occupant’s wellbeing.
Eurobrick’s extruded brick slips use only 30-40% of the energy used to produce traditional bricks. They are also considerably lighter than conventional bricks which can help to save on transportation, foundations and other structural elements. If you add to this that the insulation panels in Eurobrick’s X-Clad and V-Clad systems can help achieve significant improvements to U-Values, it shows that we offer excellent solutions for sustainable renovation projects.
Renovating/converting redundant buildings
Federated House – this dated six storey office block in Dorking was converted into a striking residential development using Eurobrick’s X-Clad.
Cotton Exchange – this conversion took a dilapidated warehouse in London and transformed it into residential apartments with the help of Eurobrick’s X-Clad.
Improvements with upward extensions
Norwood Road – P-Clad is a lightweight solution used to add two floors to this redevelopment project in London, creating residential apartments above the existing retail unit.
Pechiney House – an extra four floors were added to this two-storey office building to create new residential apartments, while our X-Clad system helped to simplify the process.
Chiswick High Road – a new floor was added to this two-storey development using X-Clad to avoid having to change the existing structure or foundations.
Eurobrick are proud to have been involved with these projects, which reimagine the old to breathe new life into communities. Whether converting or renovating an existing structure, there is so often a way to make better use of what is already available to us and part of our surroundings. And if that helps with tackling climate change too, surely it should be the way forward to help with residential shortages in future.