Energy retrofit of historic buildings in Aotearoa New Zealand: current practice, challenges and opportunities

  • YEAR
    Besen, Priscila
    Boarin, Paola
    2020 Conference Papers
    Carbon Reduction in Built Environments
    Conference Papers


Energy retrofitting historic buildings can be an effective way to enhance their indoor environmental quality, to save energy and to ensure they have a longer lifespan. As the literature on Aotearoa/New Zealand’s approaches to such topics is very limited, this study aims to understand current practices, challenges and opportunities in retrofitting historic buildings in the country. Therefore, the research included a literature review, an online questionnaire and follow-up interviews with practitioners involved with retrofit works in the country, including professionals from the public and private sector. The results reveal a general interest in the uptake of energy retrofit, but a lack of practical applications in New Zealand projects. The main barriers to implementing energy retrofit in historic buildings were the perceived cost of these interventions, the lack of interest from building owners and uncertainties about the necessary approvals from heritage authorities. Participants pointed out to solutions to encourage this practice, which included clearer guidance documents from heritage authorities, further education for the building industry and building owners about the benefits of energy retrofit, and financial incentives for maintaining and upgrading listed heritage buildings.

Keywords: Building retrofit; Historic buildings; Energy retrofit; Industry practice.


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