Opportunities and challenges for newbuilds to replace existing building stock in Switzerland

With its simple “Quick Check” the Green Building Switzerland Association has created a basis for estimating the suitability of a property for a substitute newbuild. This approach is presented for the first time in Germany.

In Switzerland almost half of the total national energy requirement is attributed to the building stock. The existing property depends on a sustainable foundation. The energy coefficients make it plain: a newbuild consumes less than a quarter of the energy needed by the majority of existing buildings today. Substitute newbuilds therefore reach higher energy efficiency than can be achieved with overall refurbishment. Generally, the additional grey energy can be paid back as a result of the improved energy standard. The energy guidelines on construction demand an integrated design model. Every renewal must, because it only takes place a few times within the lifecycle of a building, be used for energy optimization. This approach has now been adopted in Switzerland’s Energy Strategy 2050.

On the basis of case studies, it is shown how in various projects with replacement newbuilds ecologically and economically expedient structural consolidation can be realized. Instead of severely underused and poor quality buildings, substitute newbuild creates development reserves on built-on building land, on former industrial estates and central housing estates.

The Green Building Association wants to achieve a level playing field for refurbishment and substitute newbuilds.

Dr. Peter Burkhalter, Attorney at Law,
Swiss Brick and Tile Association, Swiss Green Building
Association, Berne, Switzerland

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