To investigate the contribution that existing buildings make to sustainability and thereby to develop a research agenda.
Reviews literature related to existing buildings in the urban context, positing that there is more “value” in buildings than their “bricks and mortar” and investigates contributory factors.
No building is an island. Buildings relate one to another and to the infrastructure, which links and serves them and their users. There are, for instance, cultural, heritage and physical links to be built upon and added to by new buildings and improvements to existing buildings. The concept of “embodied energy” is relevant.
Much of the building stock of the twenty‐second century already exists. To make a serious impact on improving sustainability, existing building stock should be more fully considered, so that fewer resources may be consumed by building new. Further research is needed to develop and test an evaluation model that will make a fuller assessment of the “investment” in existing buildings.
The paper prompts a re‐evaluation of existing buildings and their contribution to sustainability.
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