Demolish or refurbish - Environmental benefits of housing conservation

Publisher:
Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Australasian Journal of Construction Economics and Building, 2013, 13 (2), pp. 18 - 34
Issue Date:
2013-01
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Climate change and energy efficiency are some of the most pressing issues facing China today. With its economic growth since 1978, the government in China has struggled to contain environmental damages and social unrest related to the economys rapid transformation. With the rapid growth in population and urbanization the demand for housing has escalated and traditional housing has been under threat of demolition to make way for new construction. Traditional housing is generally considered wasteful in its use of land and/or energy, and is often demolished for more intensive and more energy-efficient housing, despite the resulting loss of embodied energy and urban amenity. A research project was undertaken in 2010/11 in conjunction with Zhejiang University to study the environmental performance of traditional housing in Xiao He Zhi Jie, Hangzhou. The project looks into analyzing and comparing embodied energy and CO2 for seven dwellings. In addition indoor climate data were recorded and collected in the form of hourly temperature and humidity readings for one year in six local houses and in a modern unit in a nearby multi-storey building as a control for one year. The paper presents the results of the research and the results reveal that there is little difference in environmental performance between traditional and conventional modern construction. The research results have revealed the value of conservation rather than demolition as a strategic development for the construction industry.
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