Heritage & Sustainability

Heritage building conservation and sustainable development are natural allies

Reusing and rehabilitating Vancouver’s heritage buildings supports the four pillars of sustainability.

  • CULTURAL: Heritage buildings contribute to our sense of place and community identity which ensures Vancouver remains unique
  • SOCIAL: Older buildings provide some of the city’s most affordable housing and the majority of the city’s rental housing
  • ECONOMIC: Rehabilitated heritage buildings are popular places to live, work and visit making them an important part of the local economy.
  • ENVIRONMENT: Fifty percent of the buildings in Canada were constructed before 1970. Demolishing a 2,500 sq ft house sends 60 tons of debris to the landfill, whereas retrofits can often significantly improve energy efficiency. It is unsustainable to demolish all these older buildings to build new energy efficient buildings.

Check out the following resources that address the cultural, economic and environmental sustainability of retaining older buildings, with specific focus on the rehabilitation and retrofitting of these buildings.


In 2014, VHF created a documentary film based on three case studies with funding from Telus and the talent of local filmmakers. View Restoring Community and learn more about the project.

Read all ten VHF Case Studies