If you own or operate an older building, you have two choices: demolish and rebuild or retrofit.
Retrofitting can make small fixes to single room—or upgrade elements such as windows, insulation, or HVAC systems inside an entire building.
Retrofits might include projects that reduce maintenance needs and extend the life of a building. Or they could minimize the effect of ground movement in earthquake zones; it’s also common practice to retrofit a building’s roof to fortify other systems inside.
Retrofitting is a sustainable way to bring a commercial building operating to peak performance, in many cases saving time and materials compared to building from scratch.
The construction industry creates more than 40% of global greenhouse gas emissions, so improving the energy efficiency of buildings that already exist is one of the most effective ways to combat climate change. Retrofitting can help structures and industrial facilities meet new environmental regulations and standards. This might involve installing pollution control equipment or upgrading processes to reduce emissions.
Though related, retrofitting buildings is distinct from renovation, which is more concerned with the aesthetic design and spot-repair of buildings and working spaces. It's also different from historic preservation and adaptive reuse because retrofitting is concerned mainly with improving the way building systems operate.