Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to consider some of the approaches which have been developed to bring forward awareness of the role of heritage and its significance in reducing the use of carbon incurred by the creation of new structures. Design/methodology/approach: The approach adopted is to look at the emergence and dissemination of these issues through published literature including professional standards and guidelines for the management and valuation of historic property and also to consider the practice of heritage management and assessment in Western Australia. Findings: The paper finds that Australia has a well-developed system of heritage management but has been slow to adapt to its responsibilities under international treaties in the area of sustainable practices in the property field but that there is evidence of progress to improve the situation. Whilst the overall picture of the impact of heritage listing on property value remains clouded, and arguments for both positive and negative impacts are evident from the many perspectives researchers have considered, the sustainable use of resources is one which is currently receiving more attention in professional and academic circles. Research limitations/implications: The predominant focus of this paper is from an Australian perspective but with reference to the UK context. Originality/value: The contribution of this paper is that, by drawing attention to the value of built heritage as an expression of cultural worth, the demand for new structures can be constrained to some extent by reuse of existing buildings, resulting in more sustainable practices. This environmental view of heritage property may result in its being more favoured as an investment asset in the future due to its smaller carbon footprint than more recent, or potential replacement, structures.