– The purpose of this paper is to explore the barriers preventing investment in the re-use of low-grade multi-storey building stock in order to identify attributes that determine whether an existing building is suitable for retrofitting.
– Semi-structured interviews were undertaken with key industry practitioners to investigate existing practices and barriers facing low-grade building retrofits and what “ideal” multi-storey building features represent a successful investment opportunity.
– The findings showed that tenant commitment is necessary before any project goes ahead and that there exist many barriers influencing the investment decision. These include: high levels of asbestos found in existing buildings; changes in the National Construction Code necessitating enhanced fire safety and disability access; heritage listing; lack of awareness; overestimation of costs involved on simple and effective energy efficiency upgrades and change in tenant demands towards modern and efficient open plan offices. Many low-grade structures are privately owned inherited assets where the owners lack the expertise and capital to undertake retrofitting effectively.
– The study is focused on the Adelaide CBD in South Australia but the findings are relevant to other Australian cities.
– There is room in the market for more positive and influential schemes such as the Green Building Fund that encourage more energy efficiency upgrading of these buildings.
– The greater occurrence of retrofitting and re-use of older buildings, rather than demolition and rebuilding, has advantages with regard to reducing the impact of buildings on the environment and promoting sustainability.
– The research has indicated certain features of older buildings which render them as suitable candidates for retrofitting and refurbishment.
In response to feedback, high-income households can reduce their energy use to a larger degree than low-income households (17% vs 3% reduction). This and other insights were gained by two rapid reviews into research, both Australian and International, on digital services and...Read more
Industry misconceptions around high cost and poor market interest in energy efficient homes continue to obstruct the mass adoption of low carbon housing. Josh’s House demonstrates that low carbon housing is accessible and cost effective. The Star Performers series showcases how...Read more
A rapid review on green-rated office buildings, and their operational energy use, found that the conclusions of six studies ranged from the certified buildings performing worse, similarly or much better than the non-certified buildings in terms of energy usage intensity. Two...Read more
The Ecocents Living project is the result of collaboration between the Department for Families & Communities, Hindmarsh and the University of South Australia. The purpose of the research program was to identify a suite of built forms for housing that are both affordable and sustainable. The project arose out of the observation that affordability and sustainability are rarely considered in the same context despite the importance of both to housing policy makers and the construction industry.
Climate change is leading to an increased frequency and severity of heat waves. Spells of several consecutive days of unusually high temperatures have led to increased mortality rates for the more vulnerable in the community. The problem is compounded by the escalating energy costs and increasing peak electrical demand as people become more reliant on air conditioning. Domestic air conditioning is the primary determinant of peak power demand which has been a major driver of higher electricity costs.
Climate change predictions indicate more extremes in weather conditions in the coming decades with more frequent and severe heat waves in certain locations including Australia. It is likely that the more vulnerable members of the community will be at risk during heat waves in the future from both health and financial perspectives. The trend towards fully air conditioned larger homes has already seen very large peaks in electricity demand during past heat waves.
As the largest consumer of resources globally, the construction industry faces significant challenges due to future changes in resource availability. How might this complex industry achieve reduction of resource consumption and waste given the disconnections existing between stakeholders in the building procurement process and the persistence of discipline based knowledge?