Potentials and challenges for sustainable retrofitting of non-domestic buildings: A UK perspective
Paper in proceedings, 2008
This paper presents tentative results from a study of retrofitting activities in the commercial property sector in Bristol, the UK. The study is part of on-going research on the theme ‘Retrofitting the city’ that explores the adaptation of existing built environments to deal with climate change and objectives for sustainable futures. From the Bristol study two concepts related to retrofitting becomes especially apparent: ‘commercial’ and ‘community’. Results indicate that we might be experiencing a shift where the UK property sector is gaining conscience of the risk of having ‘unsustainable’ property as part of their portfolios. This change is induced by occupier demands, increased costs for energy and waste management etc., and a more complex process for planning permission. Environmental ambitions have to be balanced with commercial viability, but strengthened policies are to be expected. The study shows that retrofitting of single buildings often includes visions for regeneration of urban areas and the involvement of the local community. This agenda seems partly to be pushed by new planning permission procedures. The study points to a number of fields in which contributions are needed to facilitate future sustainable retrofitting activities including: the archaeology of site, rewiring of the city, and the socioeconomic and environmental benefits in a revaluation of existing property.