Quotation Foster, Gillian Joanne, Kreinin, Halliki. 2019. The environmental impacts of cultural heritage buildings: a circular economy perspective. Science and Technology Studies Conference Graz 2019, Graz, Austria, 06.05.2019 - 07.05.2019.




Adaptive reuse of cultural heritage buildings to new uses that reflect the changing needs of communities is an important aim of today’s sustainable city planners. These buildings are historically and culturally significant, creating a distinct character that is integral to the identity of the place. Nevertheless,in practice, their continued use and preservation is often determined when compared to an alternative, such as demolition or new “green” building construction. On what basis are these decisions made? In order to answer this research question, we critically reviewed the current literature for case studies of adaptive reuse of cultural heritage sites as well as the literature presenting methods for evaluating adaptive reuse of cultural heritage buildings. We review these from a circular economy perspective. We found that although there are many disparate methods applied for assessing environmental impact in the main: (1) energy, specifically climate change impact defined as modeled fossil fuel and related carbon dioxide avoided is discussed; (2) other environmental impacts such as water use impact and air pollution are relatively lacking; (3) environmental impacts are conceptualized and measured at different landscape scales and levels of detail making comparisons or aggregations difficult. (4) Circular Economy perspectives are not explicitly discussed. Further, we see an implementation gap between the European Union level environmental indicators of circularity and how project data are managed. To our knowledge, this is the first in depth treatment of the methods in practice for the environmental impact assessment of adaptive reuse of cultural heritage sites from a circular economy perspective.


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  • Environmental impacts, cultural heritage, climate change, barriers to adaptive reuse

Publication's profile

Status of publication Published
Affiliation WU
Type of publication Paper presented at an academic conference or symposium
Language English
Title The environmental impacts of cultural heritage buildings: a circular economy perspective
Event Science and Technology Studies Conference Graz 2019
Year 2019
Date 06.05.2019 - 07.05.2019
Country Austria
Location Graz
URL https://sts-conference.isds.tugraz.at/event/2/attachments/1/31/BoA__STS_Conference_Graz_2019.pdf


CLIC - Circular Models Leveraging Investments in Cultural Heritage Adaptive Reuse
Foster, Gillian Joanne (Former researcher)
Kreinin, Halliki (Details)
Institute for Ecological Economics IN (Details)
Research areas (ÖSTAT Classification 'Statistik Austria')
2959 Sustainable development, sustainable economics (Details)
4118 Renewable energy (also energy sources, raw materials) (Details)
4119 Regenerable raw materials (Details)
4924 Sustainable development, sustainable economics (Details)
5368 Sustainable development, sustainable economics (Details)
5912 Social sciences (interdisciplinary) (Details)
5914 Environmental research (Details)
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