Adaptive re-use: eco-friendly buildings are hotter than ever


As the population continues to rise and sustainability becomes crucially important, buildings that have fallen into disuse are increasingly attracting interest from local authorities and project developers. And rightly so, because adaptive re-use offers endless interesting possibilities – if done right, that is!

Adaptive re-use is a delicate matter

Protected historical buildings and sites not seldomly make up an important part of the identity of their neighbourhood. Sadly enough, many of them have lost their purpose over the years, becoming vacant and ending up neglected. Fortunately, adaptive re-use is trending. Yet turning old company buildings into modern lofts, launching co-housing projects and re-using churches doesn’t happen overnight. Repurposing iconic buildings especially requires a very cautious approach.

Things to bear in mind

All additions to heritage-protected buildings must be distinguishable from the original construction, yet at the same time accomplish harmony and highlight what was already there in terms of purpose as well as design. All interventions must be clearly visibly, sustainable and carried out using high-quality materials. While reversibility is of less importance, it’s wise to consider adding new elements carefully to keep the potential added value of other additions open for the future.

ALSAN’s liquid PMMA resins are a perfect solution to waterproofing monuments and heritage-protected buildings. They are based on the most innovative techniques available but with respect for the authentic character of the construction.

The benefits of sustainable re-use

Sustainably re-using buildings offers numerous benefits:

  • It’s ecological: giving raw materials and demolished materials a new purpose reduces the demand for harmful substances and minimizes the need for new raw materials. Making buildings more multifunctional also means there is more room left for parks and other planted areas.

  • It’s good for the economy: people prefer to live and work in urban environments they find inspiring.

  • It gives whomever initiated the project a (more) positive image.

  • As new energy concepts are almost always implemented, re-using old buildings ensures a reduction in CO2 and lower energy costs.

  • Adaptive re-use is often a requirement for obtaining financing or subsidies of some sort.

What other ecological measures can you take?

Adaptive re-use can be achieved using various insulation solutions. To preserve the integrity of a classified building, you can opt to insulate the façade from the inside. If your focus is to reduce the building’s energy consumption to an absolute minimum, we recommend using wood fibre insulation – be sure to check out the PAVATEX range which offers integral system solutions for the complete building envelope. And why not really integrate nature into your project by adding a green roof? The possibilities are endless!

Curious to learn more about SOPREMA’s solutions for adaptive re-use? Don’t hesitate to ask our specialists for advice!