Department or Program

Environmental Studies


In response to aging residential buildings in Lewiston, Maine, a choice must be made between retrofitting existing residential buildings or building new homes. Renovating existing residential buildings decreases construction and material emissions, however, there are significant limitations to the energy efficiency of retrofitting residential buildings. Working through a community-engaged research approach with Raise-Op, a local housing cooperative in Lewiston, Maine, this study seeks to understand the environmental impact of retrofitting existing residential buildings in comparison to building new energy efficient homes. Employing a life cycle CO2 assessment, this study calculates the embodied carbon of a retrofitted residential building model and Raise-Op’s newly constructed building at 198 Blake Street to present a clear understanding of the total emissions of a building's life cycle. In combination with embodied carbon emissions, this study also looks at the operational carbon emissions of each building. Our research findings suggest that building energy efficiency accounts for significantly more carbon than embodied carbon over a building’s lifespan. The study results will be presented to Raise-Op in an effort to recommend development strategies that minimize environmental impact.

Level of Access

Open Access

First Advisor

Jamie Haverkamp

Date of Graduation


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Number of Pages


Community Engagement


Open Access

Available to all.