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Retrofit/culture & heritage

Existing buildings in cities account for more than 60% of carbon dioxide emissions. Whilst new build can help reduce this footprint, retrofitting has to make a significant and rapid contribution; a transformation all the more challenging in the higher density and compact downtown.


Achieving this whilst retaining built heritage and the urban fabric which has cultural significance is one of the tensions associated with the move towards achieving and sustainable, net zero city centre. To date most insight has come from individual building conversions or from specific sites. Such piecemeal change needs to be accelerated and scaled up - with examples such as the 2030 Districts in the US providing examples of how transformation across the city centre can be achieved. 

Puebla earthquake damage.JPG

Key issues

Learn more...

Find out more about studies and initiatives across the world which are demonstrating how tensions between retention of built heritage and cultural symbols and reduced carbon footprints can be achieved. Click on titles for access.

dos Santos Dolce Uzum & Soares Goncalves (2021) Architectural Science Review, 64 (1-2), 56-71

In this context, the objective of this research is to quantify the thermal performance of compact economic housing in these buildings and formulate design guidelines with emphasis on the façades

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