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Embedding Circularity in Refurbishment Projects

Location: Farnborough


In order to meet our net zero commitments, substantial and co-ordinated efforts are needed to retrofit existing buildings. The time for action to decarbonise the existing and future global building stock is now. For investors, this means re-evaluating all real estate investment under an energy-efficiency and carbon reduction lens.

Planned refurbishment work presents a valuable opportunity to identify cost-effective improvements to create better-performing buildings, which can be directly measured against energy performance ratings at the time of completion, and in use through emerging systems such as Nabers. Whilst it is easy to focus on improved operational efficiency, a whole life approach to carbon management requires that proper consideration is given to hidden emissions, embedded within existing building fabric and systems. Fewer market tools exist to measure and optioneer solutions to manage carbon embedded in existing buildings, leading to risks that carbon intensive interventions can outweigh operational energy improvements over the longer-term.

The use of life cycle techniques provides an important tool for identifying and understanding impacts associated with new constructions, however is less flexible at predicting emissions already embodied in a building.

Envision has developed an approach which combines physical building inspections and pre-refurbishment audits, with analysis of existing building inventories and life cycle carbon datasets to identify circular opportunities that are bespoke to a particular project. These opportunities can be evaluated to challenge a design concept, and are able to identify and prioritise carbon abatement opportunities which present best whole -life value.

Embedding Circular Thinking in projects

Our strategic approach enables us to engage with project teams to define a project specific baseline, and then develop and agree actions through stakeholder engagement to measurably reduce impacts.

Key Benefits of a pre-refurbishment waste audit

The approach helps to:

Reduce Impact – Considering what is removed from the building in the same way you consider what should be added can help to reduce waste, lower carbon, minimise trips and their associated hazards.

Optimise Costs – Getting project stakeholders in the mindset of circularity should deliver capital costs savings  by following the principles of avoidance and optimisation, over removal and replacement. This should save on material, waste removal and transport costs.

Support Accreditation – Embedding circularity principles in the development will bring more meaning to BREEAM Accreditation, helping to deliver key credits such as responsible sourcing, construction waste management, direct reuse and recycling, resource efficiency, durability, materials efficiency and life cycle impact.

Deliver ESG Ambitions – Supporting property funds and real estate businesses report against their own net zero pathways, TCFD risk management and GRESB disclosures.

If you would like to know more about our bespoke service, please contact Dom Clarke

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