Sustainability & Heritage

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, and connect us to Vancouver’s diverse history and cultural heritage.
  • 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. Retrofits can significantly improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions while avoiding waste and reducing the need for new energy-intensive materials.


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

For tips on reducing carbon emissions, visit VHF’s Energy Improvements in Older Homes.