In the context of recent policy moves to reduce environmental impacts, it is argued that significant improvements are required to heritage housing stock. Existing housing stock is recognised in planning/legislation for some form of protection based upon its heritage significance. Although renovation of existing dwellings is the principal means promoted to reduce energy and associated environmental emissions, little attention has been given to how this is achieved in practice. This paper joins an emerging body of work that draws on social practice theory, as an alternative to rational and behaviourist perspectives, to investigate renovation practices in heritage housing. Based on analysis of interviews with homeowners, this paper discusses the common social understandings associated with heritage buildings, environmental sustainability, and comfort, and how these intersect in home-renovation. The study explores how households balance emerging needs for environmental sustainability with retaining heritage significance. Questions are raised as to the extent to which renovations can contribute to objectives for reducing energy use and emissions, and implications are drawn for future policy approaches regarding the attainment of more sustainable practices.
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The authors would like to thank the two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments on the earlier draft of this paper. They also acknowledge the Australian Postgraduate Award through which this research was funded, and the support of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Education Trust. The authors would like to thank those municipalities, professional bodies, practitioners and community groups within Victoria for their assistance, and all of the homeowners who willingly participated in the interviews.
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Judson, E.P., Iyer-Raniga, U. & Horne, R. Greening heritage housing: understanding homeowners’ renovation practices in Australia. J Hous and the Built Environ 29, 61–78 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10901-013-9340-y
- Environmental performance
- Historic heritage
- Housing consumption
- Social practice