Newsweek Learns that Preservation is Green

Posted on: December 5th, 2008 by National Trust for Historic Preservation 1 Comment

Newsweek magazine recently published a letter from our Local Partner the Landmark Society of Western New York defending the case for sustainability when paired with responsible preservation practices. The letter was in response to an earlier Newsweek article, The Bad News About Green Architecture by Cathleen McGuigan, which focused on the negative impacts of the growing "fad" of building new sustainable buildings, but failed to identify the benefits of adaptive reuse to the sustainability movement.

"Our goal was to hopefully offer an alternative perspective (to which some people likely hadn’t been previously exposed) as they consider the issues of 'green building/construction' raised in the article," said Director of Marketing, Laura Zavala. The Landmark Society initially commented on the Newsweek article on their blog, but thought it important to voice their opinion on the article to the editors of Newsweek, as well. "Although they edited our letter for length, they successfully preserved the main points we were attempting to communicate. As we look for alternatives and focus on sustainable living as a nation, our talking points will have hopefully resonated strongly enough to stick with some folks."

And they did so quite well. In less than 500 words, the Landmark Society was able to put front and center in a reader’s mind the fact that new construction -- no matter how green or cutting edge -- uses new resources and energy, and creates waste. As we continue to make the case for preservation in sustainable development, we must all take every opportunity to impart this simple fact: preservation has been, and always will be, green.

-- Hannah Smith

Hannah Smith is the program assistant for the Statewide & Local Partners office at the National Trust for Historic Preservation.


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  • Historic Preservation and Sustainability
  • The Statewide & Local Parners program

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National Trust for Historic Preservation

National Trust for Historic Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded non-profit organization, works to save America's historic places.


One Response

  1. Tess Evans

    December 7, 2008

    I totally agree that preservation is green and always will be. Everyone capable of contributing to the green movement should definitely take action in any way they can. No matter if it is just expressing an opinion or donations, someone will hear you and put donations to good use to protect our planet.
    Tess Evans