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Image of a historic building - a store front"The Greenest Building Is . . . One That Is Already Built"  - Carl Elefante, AIA

 Did you know that it takes about 65 years for an energy efficient new building to save the amount of energy lost in demolishing an existing building?

Far from being "energy hogs," some historic buildings are as energy efficient or more so than buildings constructed in later decades.


The Historic Preservation Division offers tax incentives and grants to promote the rehabilitation of historic buildings. See if your historic home or income-producing properties qualify.

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External links/resources

The Greenest Building: Quantifying the Environmental Value of Building Reuse – This 2011 National Trust for Historic Preservation report provides the most comprehensive analysis to date of the potential environmental benefit of building reuse concludes that when comparing buildings of equivalent size and function, building reuse almost always offers environmental savings over demolition and new construction.

The Sustainability section of the National Trust for Historic Preservation website has tips for homeowners and Main Street communities, green rehab success stories, and other sustainability resources.

Assessing the Energy Conservation Benefits of Historic Preservation: Methods and Examples - This study contains formulas to measure the energy needed to restore and rehabilitate existing buildings and what is needed to demolish and replace them with comparable new construction. The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation has developed these formulas to assist it in discharging its responsibilities under the National Historic Preservation Act.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory report, Implementing Solar PV Projects on Historic Buildings and in Historic Districts provides background information about regulations and processes that may affect implementing solar photovoltaic (PV) projects for historic properties, an overview of solar PV systems, concepts that should help minimize the potential impacts from installing a solar PV system at a historic property, and a suggested process to achieve successful implementation of a solar PV project.   Design assistance or cost information for solar PV systems was not intended as part of the scope of the report and is not included.

Historic Preservation and Green Architecture: Friends Or Foes? According to architecture critic Blair Kamin, they're natural allies and always have been.
by Blair Kamin, from Preservation magazine, March/April 2010


The Effects of Energy Efficiency Treatments on Historic Windows, Center for Resource Conservation - January 2011

Old Windows Find a Following - New York Times, July 27, 2011