DADA has been making the case for retrofits for nearly a decade. This has been especially highlighted in the fight to keep Preston Market where it is and prevent it from being demolished and rebuilt elsewhere on the site against the voting block of predominately the Greens and ex-Greens Councillors.
Which is better?
Dr Robert Crawford, an associate professor in construction at The University of Melbourne, says while there are valid arguments for both retrofitting and building new, from an environmental perspective it is almost always better to retrofit.
“Existing buildings have a significant amount of resources embedded within them, in the form of raw materials, energy and water,” he says.
“Demolishing a building and building new means that much of these resources are wasted, with many sent to landfill.
“Additional resource demands are needed, and greenhouse gas emissions, waste and pollutants are then released into the environment from the increased demand for virgin materials.”
Retrofits to make homes more sustainable and comfortable to live in can save over 50 per cent of the embedded resource demands and construction-related environmental impacts, he said.
Retrofits versus building new: we need whole of industry change