Tall Building Carbon & Life Cycle, Renovation, Demolition and Recycling: When, Why and How?

Don Davies
Magnusson Klemencic Associates, Seattle

Sara Davis
Senior Associate
FXCollaborative Architects, New York City

Nick Jackson
Director | Architecture
Arup, London

Mark Minchak
Project Manager
Pavarini McGovern, New York City

Stanley Yee
Technical Service & Development Scientist
Dow Corning Corporation, Midland

The changing climate is—or should be—at the forefront of every development, creating a slew of opportunities to reevaluate areas in which the resource-heavy tall building can potentially offset, or at least reduce, some of its carbon emissions. A key component of this dialogue concerns the end-of-life scenarios for a tall building: when to renovate and when to demolish? And, crucially, what is the re-use / recycling potential for certain elements in a demolition scenario? From considering how to evaluate existing materials and layouts, retrofitting and adapting new systems to existing structures, restoring and refinishing historic and heritage facades and exteriors, the avenues to assess when to renovate, refurbish, or demolish in a manner that is the most carbon-efficient are numerous. Within this session’s discussion, the quandary of determining when a tall building has reached the end of its life cycle, using factors beyond the economic, is considered.