Although in the past the majority of sustainable construction activity has been focused on new construction, today there is a movement in major cities toward green retrofits in both privately and publicly owned buildings. According to the United States Green Building Council, a “green retrofit” refers to upgrades to an existing building that improve energy and environmental performance, reduce water use, improve the comfort and quality of the space in terms of natural light, noise, and air quality, and are completed in a way that is financially beneficial to the owner and tenants. While the continued efforts in sustainable new construction are fruitful, new construction represents only a small portion of the overall building population. Focusing on green retrofits and sustainable renovations of existing buildings can have a larger impact on the environment.
For more information on the trend to make existing buildings green, check out this article.