Heritage Projects don’t need to stay stuck in the past

Upgrading an existing building can be complex – there can be many challenges to achieving cost-effective, appealing, comfortable and sustainable retrofits. The building’s size, orientation, primary materials and method of construction are already decided, and the team generally needs to work within these constraints. These challenges can be multiplied on heritage-listed buildings, where owners and design teams need to conserve – and, ideally, celebrate – the features which make the building or site significant to the community. These challenges can seem overwhelming, and some owners have even viewed a heritage listing for their building as being a sentence to never be able to bring the building up to modern accommodation or sustainability standards.

Despite the unique challenges facing heritage projects, there remain many opportunities to achieve improvements in their environmental performance. Each heritage project will have features which are considered significant, and items considered significant on one heritage project may not need to be preserved on another. This requires an individual approach to any improvement works at a heritage-listed project, with its significant heritage features in mind, and in line with Conservation Management Plans.

For our clients in NSW, there is currently some extra help available for Heritage Listed projects to become more energy efficient. The NSW Heritage Near Me’s Heritage Green Energy Grants offer up to $100,000 for energy efficiency upgrades at heritage-listed projects in NSW. To be eligible, the owner/management must have completed a course on OEH’s Energy Management Services.

The grants close 5pm 28 September 2018, so act quick! See http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/ for full details, and feel free to contact Viridis for advice on sustainability for heritage projects.

Viridis has worked on heritage-listed buildings, helping them to integrate sustainability initiatives and achieving formal sustainability ratings. These projects include the InterfaceFlor fitout at 101 Chalmers Street Sydney, and the DECO Building on Clarence Street, Sydney.

In addition to her extensive experience providing sustainability advice in the construction industry, our Senior Consultant Kristie Martin holds Honours in Archaeology from the Australian National University, and has an appreciation for the unique challenges associated with integrating sustainability and energy-efficiency upgrades into heritage-listed projects. Kristie is passionate about how sustainability and heritage can work together to get the best result during refurbishment works.