Environmental sustainability

British Columbia’s historic places—buildings, structures, landscapes, historic districts, and other places—are important to our understanding and appreciation of our communities. Along with a strong identity, heritage conservation also provides economic diversity and environmental sustainability.

Heritage and sustainability

The conservation of historic places and buildings is important to curbing climate change and other negative impacts on the environment. Reusing and rehabilitating historic buildings is a significant way to practice the three Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle) on a much bigger scale. Here are some green facts about heritage and sustainability.

  • Restoring a building requires less energy than building a new one. 
  • Rehabilitating buildings saves landfill space. 
  • Preserving a building saves embodied energy (energy used to operate, construct and demolish) that was used to build and maintain it. 
  • Heritage buildings are built out of low-energy intensive materials. 
  • Reusing old buildings saves green spaces. 
  • Reusing old buildings fosters green lifestyle choices like commuting by bike or walking.  

Things like historical or spiritual significance, use, and appearance tell us what’s important about a place and how to care for it. By preserving, rehabilitating, or restoring heritage places, we value our communities, our future, and ourselves.

Renovation and rehabilitation

Adapting an existing heritage building offers a unique opportunity to not only protect the environment but also keep the character and identity of our communities intact.

Greening your home

Older buildings can be environmentally friendly without compromising their character defining features. Find out how you can upgrade your home for energy savings.