Historic preservation is fundamentally sustainable in that its practice reuses existing built resources and encourages reinvestment in older communities.
While this concept is really a reflection of the basic principles of sustainability, the integration of green building design into the rehabilitation of historic structures has only recently become a more common and encouraged practice in the United States. Since new construction in the United States produces a disproportionate percentage of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, we must continue to rethink housing and commercial development to incorporate sustainable principles. With creativity in thought and application, historic buildings can be retrofitted for new energy-efficient technology, often at lower costs—and nearly always resulting in less waste—than new construction.
The Trust for Architectural Easements actively seeks to incorporate sustainable principles in its work practices and in its own office environment, in several ways:
- Encouraging the use of creative, energy-saving solutions in building owners’renovation and retrofit projects
- Integrating sustainable ideas in exterior modification reviews
- Going paperless in our publications by developing online newsletters
- Co-sponsoring the Sustainability and Historic Preservation Panel Series with Island Press
- Practicing energy efficiency and minimizing waste in the office
To emphasize the Trust’s commitment to sustainable practices in the rehabilitation of historic structures, we have created a booklet entitled Preservation of Historic Structures and Environmental Sustainability that provides important facts and information from various sources, including The Brookings Institution, the United States General Services Administration, and the Pew Center on Global Climate Change.