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Private: Our Projects (Archive) 25/10/23

Assessing Heat Vulnerability of Melbourne’s Northern and Western Buildings 


In 2022 and 2023, YEF partnered with the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (DEECA) to evaluate the suitability of buildings in Melbourne’s west and north for heat relief. Two projects were conducted, assessing a total of 60 council-owned buildings for their ability to serve as refuges during extreme heat events. The studies offered recommendations and cost-estimates for improving the buildings’ resilience to climate change and extreme heat. 




Objectives and Scope 

The projects, conducted in collaboration with Western Alliance for Greenhouse Action (WAGA) and Northern Alliance for Greenhouse Action (NAGA), aimed to: 

  • Assess buildings’ structural components and geographical accessibility. 
  • Educate council staff on the role of cool spaces during heatwaves. 
  • Capacity Building and Tools 

A key focus was on upskilling council staff from diverse departments, thereby fostering cross-departmental cooperation. Assessment tools developed during the projects can be used for future building evaluations. 

Need for the Project 

Climate change is expected to intensify heatwaves, posing a significant risk to vulnerable populations. Urban Heat Island (UHI) effects further escalate these risks in urban regions. While some heat response plans exist within local governments, there is a lack of a coordinated regional strategy, exacerbated by the strains of the Covid-19 crisis on emergency management. 

Conclusion and Recommendations 

Both projects yielded actionable insights for improving building resilience and enhancing heat health plans. Recommendations were shared with all major stakeholders, emphasising the importance of modern, safe refuges during heat events. Read more here about Dwell becoming a safe and cool space for vulnerable community members.