Sustainability in historic buildings

20120901 OPBS views Lloyd M (9)

Old Perth Boys School, constructed in 1854, was awarded a 6 Star Green Star with Interiors v1 rating. Image courtesy of the National Trust of Western Australia

The Australia ICOMOS National Scientific Committee for Energy and Sustainability (NSCES) works towards the conservation of heritage places in a sustainable context, including cultural heritage, social values and environmental values. We meet regularly and encourage anyone in Australia with interest and experience in the sustainability of heritage places and a willingness to actively contribute to the committee to contact us and join as a member.

Protecting cultural heritage following the Burra Charter has a wide range of sustainability goals. The NSCES is working hard to gain greater recognition in all aspects of sustainability, including the energy conservation and sustainability benefits of heritage buildings.

Many historic buildings were constructed to be sustainable, with mass construction, opening windows for natural ventilation, durable and incrementally replaceable and repairable materials and a long structural life. Historic buildings make an inherent contribution through the retained building fabric (embodied energy).

We can continue this contribution to sustainability by retaining, sensitively conserving, retrofitting and reusing old, historic and heritage buildings.