Life Cycle Analysis of Adaptive Reuse:Is Existing Building the Greenest Building? | U.S. Green Building Council
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Life Cycle Analysis of Adaptive Reuse:Is Existing Building the Greenest Building?

GBCI: 0920011351

Until now, little has been known about the climate change reductions that might be offered by reusing and retrofitting existing buildings rather than demolishing and replacing them with new construction. This life cycle analysis of Bent’s house building was carried out as an exploratory study to find out whether preserve historical building will have quantifiable environmental impact beyond the cultural benefit that have been known and agreed by public.
Eligible for 1 CE HOUR.
  • 1 CE

Rating system: v4, v2009



This research paper provides a comprehensive analysis to date of the potential environmental impact reductions associated with building reuse using Bent’s opera house as a study case. Bent’s house is located in the heart of Median, New York. Completed in 1865, the opera house was built from the now famous Medina sandstone, which can also be found in places such as London’s Buckingham Palace. The main outcomes of this research are the establishment of materials inventory and environmental impact references of the Bent’s house. In order to have a fair comparison, the virtual models have been built utilizing a life Cycle Analysis (LCA) methodology (using software such as Revit and Athena Impact Estimation). Those three models are: Historical Building; Renovated Building to meet current code; New Construction to be certified as LEED silver. The study compares the relative environmental impacts and primary energy consumption of the three models over the course of a 75-year life span. The comparisons of environmental impact among three different models can be seen as an essential part of the formation of a powerful tool to help inform the decision making process of policy makers in establishing quantified sustainable development guidelines for future historical buildings renovation, reconstruction and demolition projects.


  1. know the fundaments of life cycle analysis methodology and related tools
  2. will learn in details the steps used to conduct a whole building life cycle analysis
  3. describe five major environmental impact evaluation categories and four major life cycle stages
  4. describe the reason and rationale why preserving historical structure for adaptive reuse has bigger energy conservation advantage with less environmental impact

Created by

USGBC Maryland
West Friendship, MD
United States