CATEGORIES2011 Conference Papers Sustainability Issues
ABSTRACT: The current dominant social paradigm cannot address the environmental crisis forecast
by climate science and a new approach is needed. The requirement for buildings that can operate in
energy-poor conditions with water and resource scarcity can be facilitated by an examination of premodern
buildings. A research project called the Green Renaissance Project draws upon
archaeological, bioclimatic and building science methodologies to test this hypothesis based on case
studies of Italian building from the Roman and Renaissance periods. This paper explores the context
for the application of these methodologies and their potential for assessing the environmental
performance of various domestic structures. For this paper, the focus will be on the comparatively
well-preserved domestic architecture of Pompeii and Herculaneum though a holistic approach is
necessary because of the problems associated with subsequent reconstructions and restorations.
The primary aim of this project is to use past knowledge to inform the debate on cultural sustainability
and to assist with cultural transformation to a more sustainable future. An offshoot of this project will
be an increased understanding of lifestyle and perceptions of comfort in the ancient world. To date,
there has been minimal research with regard to these issues.