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Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 1949; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10061949

Measures and Steps for More Efficient Use of Buildings

1
Division of Strategic Sustainable Studies, Department of Sustainable Development, Environmental Science and Engineering, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 100 44 Stockholm, Sweden
2
RISE Research Institutes of Sweden, Eklandagatan 86, 412 61 Gothenburg, Sweden
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 1 May 2018 / Revised: 8 June 2018 / Accepted: 8 June 2018 / Published: 11 June 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Built Environment and Urban Growth Management)
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Abstract

As urbanization continues and more people move into cities and urban areas, pressure on available land for new constructions will continue to increase. This situation constitutes an incentive to review the need for interior space and uses of existing buildings. A great deal can be gained from using existing buildings more efficiently instead of constructing new ones: Reduced resource usage during construction (investments, natural resources, and energy), operation, and maintenance; more activity per square meter of buildings creates a greater basis for public transport and other services; more intensive use of buildings creates a more vibrant city without building on virgin land. The aim of this paper is to initiate a discussion regarding how digitalization can affect the demand and supply of interior space in existing buildings and elaborate on how policy can support more resource-efficient uses of space. New activity-based resource measurements intended for use in buildings are proposed, and several principles that have the potential to decrease environmental impact through more efficient usage of space are outlined. Based on these ideas for encouraging the flexible use of building spaces that are facilitated by digitalization and the new measurement approaches, a four-step principle for construction is proposed: The first step is to reduce the demand for space, the second is to intensify usage of existing space, the third is to reconstruct and adapt existing buildings to current needs, and the fourth is to construct new buildings. Urging political, municipal, construction, and real-estate decision makers to contemplate this principle, particularly in view of the new conditions that digitalization entails, will lead to more sustainable construction and, in the long term, a sustainable built environment. View Full-Text
Keywords: resource use; energy use; interior space utilization; buildings; sharing; digitalization resource use; energy use; interior space utilization; buildings; sharing; digitalization
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Höjer, M.; Mjörnell, K. Measures and Steps for More Efficient Use of Buildings. Sustainability 2018, 10, 1949.

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