Historically Embedded: Embodied Energy's Place in Building Retrofits

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2011-12
Authors
Okimoto, Troy Hideki
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Palagi, Kris
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Architecture
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Older buildings, buildings over 50 years in age, comprise more than half of the existing buildings in the United States. The importance of reusing buildings and reinvesting in older buildings is the subject of this paper, as well as the rationale for retrofitting the existing building stock. Retention and reuse of these buildings preserves the materials, embodied energy, and human capital already expended in their construction. The recycling of buildings is a beneficial “green” practice, and stresses the importance and values of historic preservation in the overall promotion of heritage and sustainability. My Doctorate of Architecture project will explore many facets of renewal due to Hawaiʻi’s isolation from the rest of the world. An analytical intervention will be applied to Gartley Hall on the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa campus’ quad area. The Gartley model will examine and quantify the embodied energy at various phases of building retrofits. Society has become increasingly aware of our impact on the natural environment. This awareness is due in part to the rising cost of oil and the basic cost of living. Being cognizant of our impact on the environment will help mediate economic inflation and preserve Hawaiʻi’s beauty for future generations. Hawaiʻi was one of the last places on earth settled by man due to its complete isolation in the Pacific Ocean. This isolation has created one of the world’s most unique environments and lifestyles; minimizing each person’s carbon footprint will help preserve our islands’ natural beauty. My project demonstrates the implications and methods of choices a designer, developer, contractor, and building-user make to achieve sustainability in retrofitting existing buildings through an analysis that covers the embodied energy of existing buildings and their potential future uses. This project will analyze and compare the energy and materials previously expended on a building and at various levels of remodel. My conclusions are drawn from precedents, quantitative embodied energy data, and regional transportation variables (Hawaiʻi’s isolation). The final portion of the project identifies the problems and metrics associated with one of the oldest buildings on the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa campus through a lifespan model that considers phasing retrofits, transportation costs, and existing embodied energy.
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Embodied Energy, Sustainability, Preservation, Retrofitting, Existing Building
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235 pages
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