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Delivering sustainability through the adaptive reuse of commercial buildings : the Melbourne CBD challenge

conference contribution
posted on 2009-01-01, 00:00 authored by Sara Wilkinson, Kimberley James, Richard Reed
The City of Melbourne is aiming to be carbon neutral by 2020 (Arup 2008) and have set a target of adapting twelve hundred commercial buildings to incorporate sustainability initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the sector (AECOM 2008). In order to meet this target the City of Melbourne is taking a proactive approach to establish strategies to deliver sustainability in the built environment within the 2020 timeframe. With regards to upgrading and building maintenance 71% of investment is used for such works (Department of the Environment 2008) and the total Australian property stock was worth over $6 trillion in June 2008. Given that building services in commercial buildings typically lasts between 20-30 years and the average age of the stock is 31 years – it appears that many properties are due for adaptation and there is major opportunity for adaptation that alleviates the impact of global warming and climate change.

Uncertainty surfaces such as; how much adaptation of existing stock is typically undertaken? And is the target of 1200 adaptations before 2020 achievable? Furthermore how could the City identify which buildings are most probable to be adapted prior to 2020? This paper details the configuration of a database of Melbourne buildings populated with data about physical, social, economic legislative and environmental attributes. There is a discussion about how the database will be used to determine; how much adaptive reuse has been undertaken historically; if any triggers to adaptation can be identified; and whether any relationships between adaptation physical, social, economic, legislative and environmental attributes and adaptation exist. The relevance of this research is obvious to all policy makers where adaptation of existing commercial buildings is perceived a as key component of delivering sustainability.



Pacific Rim Real Estate Society. Conference (15th : 2009 : Sydney, New South Wales)


1 - 19


Pacific Rim Real Estate Society (PPRES)


Sydney, New South Wales

Place of publication

Sydney, N.S.W.

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End date




Publication classification

E1 Full written paper - refereed

Copyright notice

2009, PRRES

Title of proceedings

PRRES 2008 : Proceedings of the Pacific Rim Real Estate Society 15th Annual Conference

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