Older buildings, such as museums and train stations, are notorious for being highly inefficient in terms of their energy use. In many cases, such inefficiencies are forgiven, as many examples of old architecture are the most stunning and beautiful. At the same time, however, there is growing pressure on owners of all types of buildings to ensure that they are doing everything possible to reduce their carbon footprint and promote the global green agenda.
What are the available options for buildings that need an environmental overhaul?
Although solar panels are widely seen on buildings today, they are only really prominent on new builds or if they have been used as part of the main structure. Attaching solar panels to older buildings would, in many cases, be a total nightmare. This is mainly due to the erosion of many elements of the existing construction, meaning that they would simply not be strong enough to support solar panels, which are heavy and put a lot of pressure on the external framework of a building.
With solar out of the question, where could we turn to next?
Some older buildings are struggling to support their own existing roof structure, let alone with solar panels adding to the weight. This means that many decades-old buildings currently require essential maintenance to be carried out on the roof.
Trouble is, construction companies cannot just put up scaffolding and reinforce the roof, as that will put pressure on the structure and perhaps cause the building to collapse inward. Reinforcing the existing structure is neither cost effective nor practical.
However, the roof can be replaced in its entirety using materials such as ETFE. ETFE is such a great product for roof replacements as it is extremely light, meaning that the load placed on the existing structure will actually reduce once the existing brick rooftop has been removed.
The ace in the pack; ETFE is a highly eco-friendly material. It doesn’t erode due to air pollution, requires very little maintenance, acts as a natural insulator, and allows a building to enjoy hugely increased levels of natural light within it.
Immediately, energy use and costs within a building will tumble dramatically, whether it is a library, a museum, a train station, or a hospital.
While homeowners are continuously looking for a number of small gains in order to improve their energy efficiency, the best results for larger buildings are found by making wholesale upgrades to major elements of a construction, such as the roof.
Over the coming years, expect to see more and more old buildings around the world given the modern green treatment. While there will likely be levels of upset at the dismantling of much-loved architectural features, ultimately the aesthetic loss will be far outweighed by the longer term benefits of an environmental overhaul.
This article was written by Vector Foiltec. Vector Foiltec have been responsible for the development of many large-scale eco-building projects across the world, regularly using ETFE panels on both new buildings as well as within renovation projects for older examples of architecture.