Renovate a house to make it sustainable

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Renovate a house to make it sustainable

Is it worth it to renovate a house to make it sustainable?

What are the pros and cons of renovating a house to make it sustainable?

Is it better to build or to renovate?

May you don’t know us yet, let’s have a quick introduction: we’re ERA architects.
Actually, I’m Esther Rovira, architect and passive house designer in Barcelona, Catalonia and Andorra for either passive houses, efficient houses and positive houses.
In this post ‘Renovate a house to make it sustainable’, you’ll find our professional recommendation.
I hope it helps you! Let’s go!

Build or renovate?
That’s the dilemma when considering a new green home.
I feel you, it’s a tough decision (one of many you’ll need to go trough in both case scenarios).
So, let me help you take this important decision by giving you the pros and cons of both options:


  1. Utilizing Existing Resources:
    Renovating an existing house allows you to make use of the resources already available.
    It can be a more sustainable approach compared to constructing an entirely new building, as it reduces waste and environmental impact.
  2. Cost Savings:
    Renovating a house can be more cost-effective than building a new one.
    You may find a property at a lower cost, and depending on the extent of renovations needed, it can be a more budget-friendly option.
    However, get informed by an expert in order to make a better analysis since the line could be very thin when talking about making it sustainable.
  3. Preservation of Character:
    Older houses often possess unique architectural features and character that many homeowners appreciate.
    By renovating and making it sustainable, you can preserve the charm of the house while incorporating modern, eco-friendly elements.
  4. Faster Completion:
    Renovating an existing house generally takes less time than building from scratch.
    If you’re looking for a quicker solution, renovating may be a more suitable choice, allowing you to move in sooner.
    However, get informed by an expert in order to make a better analysis of the time frame.
    In some areas the paper work process for big renovations is exactly the same to a new construction (this is the case of the Barcelona area in Spain).


    1. Limitations on Design:
      When renovating an existing house, you may encounter design limitations due to the existing structure or layout.
      This can restrict your ability to fully optimize energy efficiency and sustainability features.
      Also in some areas, you might have heritage protections (this is the case of Eixample neighborhood in Barcelona, Spain).
    2. Hidden Issues:
      This is a classic.
      Older houses may have hidden problems such as outdated wiring, plumbing issues, or structural deficiencies.
      Unforeseen complications can arise during the renovation process, requiring additional time and resources to address.
    3. Retrofitting Challenges:
      Achieving high levels of sustainability in an existing house may require significant retrofitting, which can be complex and costly.
      It’s essential to assess the feasibility and costs associated with an expert.

Our professional recommendation:
Compare this idea to buying a plot to build a green home with an expert in order to take into account all the assets and issues of each option before deciding.
Then take a decision and don’t look back, just have faith in the process you’ve gone trough to take this important decision.

You may also be interested in:
In our other post: Buy a plot to build a green home
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Hope this post ‘Renovate a house to make it sustainable’ is helpful!
(Leave a comment below if you need more info)

Best of luck on this adventure.
See you on the next post,


Founder of ERA architects

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By |2023-06-13T11:08:43+02:00June 13th, 2023|Passive House Architect Barcelona|0 Comments

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