Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Historic Preservation and The Greenest Building Debate

I just got around to reading a report released back in January, 2012 by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which openly exposes the degree to which historic preservation can be at loggerheads with the green building movement.  The report, entitled The Greenest Building:  Quantifying the Environmental Value of Building Reuse, provides fuel to back the notion that the greenest building is the one that exists.  A nice summary table making the point is the one below:   

The Greenest Building - Table
While this report could have many purposes, I can't help but imagine that it will find--or has already found--use in both federal and state environmental review documents (EISs, EIRs, etc.) or challenges to such documents, especially where a historic building is proposed for demolition and the new building proposed is a gleaming, LEED-certified darling of a thing. 

Developers in hard-to-develop areas have come to realize offering up green construction can be a way to combat historic preservationists who are often popular before local zoning and planning boards.  Will this report make a difference in that battle, or will it be viewed as just one more tool of advocacy?

Stephen R. Miller

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