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Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

11 August 2004

Preserving our past to ensure a sustainable future

Smart corporations and developers are spearheading the drive to protect our heritage and resources, the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, said today when releasing a book on how heritage buildings are being successfully adapted for present use.

The book, a Year of the Built Environment initiative endorsed by the Royal Australian Institute of Architects, showcases a range of adaptive re-use projects undertaken throughout Australia.

"On an environmental level, adaptive reuse makes real sense in that the embodied energy - that is, the energy consumed by the processes associated with the production of a building - is retained," Senator Campbell said.

"New buildings have much higher embodied energy costs than buildings that are adaptively reused.

"Recent research showed that new buildings accounted for almost 40 per cent of annual energy and raw materials consumption, 25 per cent of wood harvest, 16 per cent of fresh waster supplies, 44 per cent of landfill, 45 per cent of carbon dioxide production and up to half of the total green house emissions from industrialised countries.

"This booklet not only highlights the importance of our built heritage but demonstrates how architects, builders, developers, individuals and government are working to achieve good environmental practice.

"By giving our valuable heritage buildings a relevant new use, we ensure their preservation and contribution to the national story for future generations and ease the strain on our precious resources."

Senator Campbell said he hoped the book, Adaptive Reuse - Preserving our past, building our future, would be used as a starting point for those interested in the subject.

Produced by the Department of the Environment and Heritage, in conjunction with state and territory counterparts, the publication provides an overview of the environmental, social and economic benefits of finding sympathetic new uses for Australia's heritage buildings.

It also details the relevant state and territory organisations that can provide guidance and further information on adaptive reuse.

"I applaud the efforts of the forward-thinking developers and individuals whose projects are featured in this publication and hope others are inspired to follow the example they have set," Senator Campbell said.

To obtain copies of the book write to: Heritage Division, Department of the Environment and Heritage, GPO Box 787, CANBERRA ACT 2601 or telephone 02 6274 1111. Adaptive Reuse is also available online at

Further information about the Year of the Built Environment initiatives and activities is available online at

Commonwealth of Australia