Skyscrapers reach for the clouds in a blue sky. At the bottom, logos for Circular Economy Leadership and BOMA Canada

Taller than the Trees. Credit: Sean Pollock from

Is there a future for older buildings beyond the wrecker’s ball?

What would help make the business case for extending the life of under-used buildings instead of demolishing them?

This study looks at circular economy strategies for commercial real estate (in this case, office buildings), including: extending the life of buildings; retrofitting to reduce energy use and GHG emisisons; enabling flexible leasing models; and optimizing return on investment for building owners and managers.

As well, it considers opportunities to repurpose materials from retrofit projects to preserve the life of these materials and related embodied carbon. (Embodied carbon is the carbon dioxide [CO₂] emissions associated with materials and construction processes throughout the whole lifecycle of a building, such as the CO₂ emitted by extracting and transporting materials.)

Prolonging the use of existing buildings in place of new development, through repair, maintenance, and flexible/adaptive use and reuse may help reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emission impacts.

This research is being carried out by PICS, Circular Economy Leadership Canada and BOMA Canada, in collaboration with CSA Group and other partners.

For more information, please contact Paul Shorthouse, managing director at Circular Economy Leadership Canada.

Fast Track Project: Began May 11, 2022/ Project duration: One year

Solution Seekers

  • BOMA Canada
  • Circular Economy Leadership Canada
  • CSA Group