There are many historic brick buildings in downtown areas of the U.S., that are awaiting appropriate strategies for their adaptive reuse and preservation. The adaptive reuse method enables the adaptation of existing, obsolete historic buildings into new, mixed-use developments that will play an essential role in enhancing urban environments. However, many of these buildings have poor energy performance. This paper explores sustainable methods to balance between historic preservation and energy efficiency, through analyzing design strategies and conducting energy simulations for a building in downtown, Austin. Energy retrofits related to windows, high performance of the facades with added insulations, and passive (spatial) interventions are covered in depth. Four retrofit scenarios were applied and simulated using the energy analysis tool in Revit, a popular BIM program.
Analyzing the energy consumption data, we compare an existing building’s facade condition to the retrofit scenarios’ energy performances and record the energy performance data. This research proposes energy efficient preservation options for historic buildings and ultimately emphasizes potential values such as balancing the integrity of the original design with energy goals. We explore novel solutions for making historic buildings more sustainable through combining the adaptive reuse methods with energy efficient strategies that play up the historic buildings’ unique passive potentials.