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66CE - Best Practices for High-Performance Historic Renovation

09 May 2014 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM

1.5 ConEd Learning hours

This session will also be offered Friday, May 9, 2014 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM

Course Outline

Historic buildings are part of a city’s heritage, skyline and distinct character. Although seen by many as valuable symbols of the community, they also consume significant energy, resources and investment. Maintenance, incorporation of new technologies and occupancy changes need to be dealt with as the building adapts to modern day demands.

In a shifting economy with growing environmental pressures, increased energy costs and changing legislation, making the most of existing buildings, and specifically those designated as historic, is a key priority for public and private owners and occupiers. Getting more from existing buildings will benefit users, the community, the environment, and the bottom line.

In this session, we will set out some of the real solutions that we have used to ensure high performing existing buildings. The selection of international, best-practice case studies will demonstrate some of the outcomes from a range of changes and interventions. From this, an understanding of the wide range of opportunities to upgrade historic properties in your own practice will begin to emerge.

Through these project examples we will take you through the process for achieving superior performance in an historic building. We will also highlight some of the tools that we have used to help in the decision making process.

Case Studies

39 Hunter Street, Sydney, Australia
Scotstoun House, Edinburgh, Scotland
Cambridge City Hall Annex, Cambridge, MA
King Street Station, Seattle WA
St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel renovation (UK)

Learning Objectives:

  1. Understand the challenges and opportunities in enhancing the performance of historic buildings
  2. Develop a roadmap for achieving high performance building design in the realm of existing building projects.
  3. Recognize the opportunity for historic building rehabilitation to become an exemplar projects for all building renovation.
  4. Learn about new tools to assist in the decision making process of high performance historic building rehabilitation projects.


Mark Walsh-Cooke, PE, is a principal and serves as the existing building skills network leader for Arup. He brings twenty-six years of experience in mechanical engineering design, analysis, and construction. He attended University in Dundee, Scotland where he studied mechanical engineering. He has worked internationally in Arup’s Sydney and London offices prior to joining the Boston office.

Mark is responsible for managing multi-disciplinary project teams and designing systems for a range of building types. These include offices, courthouses, concert halls, laboratories, aquaria, art galleries, museums and a wide range of academic buildings including residence halls and science buildings.

Mark has particular experience in sustainable, zero net energy, and environmentally responsible design; enhancing the environmental performance of new and existing buildings, including the  St. Elizabeths Campus, Department of Homeland Security Headquarters in Washington, DC, a National Historic Landmark District; and the historical Cambridge City Hall Annex in Cambridge, Massachusetts. 

Jennifer McArthur is a mechanical engineer with fourteen years of experience in design and improving the performance of a wide variety of building types. She has led the mechanical design on key projects for Arup in Toronto, most recently the 2015 Pan Am Games stadia and velodrome, and two new subway stations on Toronto’s Spadina Line Extension. She has a passion for improving energy performance in existing buildings and has led numerous renovation, retrofit and renewable energy projects in Canada and India. 

Jenn volunteers with the Canadian Green Building Council and is a passionate advocate for engaging the design community in developing more sustainable buildings, and making the business case for energy performance improvements to existing building stock. She is a sessional lecturer at Ryerson University’s department of architecture, where she teaches project economics with a particular focus on how to incorporate sustainable design principles into the built environment.

Sharon Vattay is an architectural historian with wide-ranging professional and academic experience. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto where she lectures on the history of architecture.  She is also an associate at Goldsmith, Borgal & Company Ltd. Architects —a Toronto firm specializing in historic restoration and adaptive reuse, with projects across Canada.  

Sharon’s expertise lies in the research, assessment and management of heritage resources.  Archival research has also been undertaken for various levels of government for the purposes of publication and public outreach.  As part of her commitment to Canadian architectural and the preservation thereof, Sharon is an active member of a number of allied organizations, such as the Society for the Study of Architecture in Canada, and the Society of Architectural Historians, and teaches a graduate course in Heritage Preservation Planning at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Cultural Resource Management Department.