Office Buildings - The Importance Of "Make Good", Fitout and Recurring Embodied Energy

Beacon Pathway
Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
Proceedings: SB10 Wellington - Innovation and Transformation, 2010, pp. 1 - 8
Issue Date:
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The sustainable refurbishment of buildings is of increasing interest because existing building stock far outweighs new building stock in developed cities. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) represents a holistic means of measuring the total energy usage in buildings, including the likes of embodies energy and operating energy. This paper debates an apparent gap in the LCA literature, in that much of it only looks at initial embodies energy, and pays little attention to recurring embodied energy associated with the continual refurbishment and repair of buildings. This is particularly relevant to office buildings as many under "Make Good" on a regular basis - often as short as once every 7 years. Make Good involves the procedure at the end of office space leases, and typically includes the demolition of the outgoing tenant's fitout, followed by the reinstatement of the pre-lease fit-out, which may then be further changed by the incoming tenant's specific fitout needs. This very wasteful process generates significant recurring embodied energy. The paper helps identify the scale of the problem, the impact of occupancy churn, and analyses a selection of existing LCA studies.. Finally, the paper explores the small amount of literature that focuses on the occurrence of recurring embodied energy in buildings. The study puts forward the case for further research in this area, focussing on Make Good and the associated office fitout. This is expressed by way of a structured series of research questions that come out of the paper, and include potential solutions such as the re-thinkof office fit-out design.
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