The increasing importance of environmental attributes in commercial building retrofits

RICS and Arizona State University
Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
Proceedings of the Construction, Building and Real Estate Conference, 2012, pp. 309 - 316
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Compelling reasons to undertake building retrofit are largely economic and environmental but also social. Retrofit can be less expensive than new build and typically delivers faster projects. Sustainable development is a force for retrofit as the built environment contributes approximately half of total greenhouse gas emissions. Governments search for effective and efficient methods of mitigating the contribution of cities to climate change and building retrofit presents a realistic means of lessening building associated emissions. In Melbourne, the 1200 Building Program is a strategy which aims to escalate commercial retrofits; targeting 1200 Central Business District (CBD) office retrofits by 2020. This research examined all CBD retrofits from 2009 to 2011 to distinguish the nature and extent of retrofits and to ascertain the inter-relationship between retrofits and property attributes. 1422 retrofits were analysed between January 2009 and July 2011. Following an earlier study of retrofits from 1998 to 2008, this research determines whether environmental attributes have become more important over time. The findings support building retrofit in identifiable circumstances and are clearly relevant for increasing built environment sustainability. The research used existing buildings in an international city to ensure relevance to urban settlements where existing buildings can lessen the impact of climate change. NOTE: this paper received the Best Paper Award at the conference
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