For architects and building owners assessing the current state of their buildings, there may be a point where they ask themselves if it's worth it to keep up old, inefficient structures. On one hand, buildings falling into disrepair can eventually become too expensive to inhabit comfortably – or possibly even dangerous. On the other hand, many building retrofit options are costly and time consuming. In some cases, builders may choose to condemn the building and just start from scratch. But that's not an ideal scenario either – some structures have sentimental or aesthetic value. Plus, demolition can be an expensive process in and of itself.
However, there are retrofitting options available that are not nearly as difficult as architects perceive them to be, will provide a clean and attractive look on a building and can drastically improve building performance. For these reasons, retrofit provides more value than some builders realize.
"Retrofit provides more value than some builders realize."
The financial incentive
Ideally, a builder never comes to the point where it's a choice between a top-down restoration or a ground-up- rebuild. Both of those options can be expensive. Instead, architects should identify potential problems before they occur by analyzing building materials and techniques throughout the building's use.
It's a concept that occurs across industries: Proactive repairs can prevent failure. In building science, the idea is to prevent a structure from passing the point of no return by retrofitting with modern solutions like stucco finishes or exterior wall insulation. These measures can allow a building to remain standing – and to perform at a high level – well into old age.
The efficiency advantage
Any good builder knows to look beyond the bottom line when considering a building retrofit. That's where efficiency comes in – though building performance is also a financial benefit of retrofit because it saves money over time compared with outdated materials. However, building performance is too important to chalk up to a simple monetary value. It encompasses comfort, livability, productivity and environmental responsibility.
Douglas Miller, a senior associate at Rocky Mountain Institute and co-author of the report, How To Calculate and Present Deep Retrofit Value: A Guide for Investors, explained that idea to CleanTechnica.
"Sustainable buildings – primarily energy-efficient ones – deliver more value to those who occupy, own, or invest in the buildings than just lower energy bills," Miller said, "and that's the bigger story."
Architects looking for an ideal solution for their retrofitting needs should turn to products from Sto Corp. These solutions run the gamut from exterior coatings and finishes to backup wall systems and exterior stucco.