Good Advice on Going Green at Home

Posted on: July 17th, 2009 by Patrice Frey 1 Comment

 

Try these low-tech tips for keeping your home cool during the hot months.

Much of this advice from Treehugger.com will look familiar if you've seen our materials on greening historic homes -- but a few are new, like a reminder to refrain from cooking hot things at home during the warm months.   I'm not sure about their recommendation to grow vines on your home... that can create deterioration problems.    White roofs might be a problem depending on your neighborhood and home, but is an option worth considering for some homeowners.

--Or--

This Popular Science guide for Greening your Home is a great interactive resource that provides some common and not so common sense advice when it comes to making your home more energy efficient.  Some of the common sense tips include closing your blinds or windows on the southern side of your house to reduce heat gain, while some on the not-so-common tips include turning down the temperature on your water heater from 140 degrees to 120 to save some money.  This guide is great for historic and recently constructed houses alike and provides illustrates these techniques using a 3D model.

Patrice Frey is the director of sustainability research for the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Nakita Johnson, a graduate intern in the public policy office, contributed to this story.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

 

The National Trust for Historic Preservation has long recognized that our work plays a dual role – simultaneously protecting history and the environment. Our sustainability initiative is focused on sharing our knowledge of how protecting the built environment can help combat climate change. We, however, are not the only heritage organization looking at these issues – many other groups around the world are facing many of the same challenges.

And so, the theme for 2009’s International Conference of National Trusts will be ‘Heritage of the World in Trust: Conservation in a Changing Climate.’ Hosted by An Taisce The National Trust for Ireland, the conference will be held in Dublin from September 13 – 17.

Unveiling the conference program, An Taisce’s recently-inaugurated Honorary President, Professor John Sweeney, said, “Protecting our heritage – comprising our buildings, landscapes and native species – requires all citizens to take part in acts of conservation. By this, we mean taking small steps like retro-fitting older buildings; holidaying at home, or spending a morning helping to clean up a beach.

It is expected that the conference will be attended by over 300 representatives from heritage trust organizations around the world, in addition to climate change experts, conservationists and academics. A declaration will emerge from the conference which will – it is envisaged – be of significant import to the forthcoming UN Copenhagen Conference on Climate Change.

Learn More »

David J. Brown is the Executive Vice President of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Virginia Governor Tim Kaine Speaks up for Wilderness Battlefield

Posted on: July 15th, 2009 by National Trust for Historic Preservation 1 Comment

 

Written by Rob Nieweg

We are very pleased to report that on July 13th Virginia Governor Tim Kaine and Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates William Howell wrote to the Orange County Board of Supervisors to strongly encourage the local elected officials to “work closely with Wal-Mart to find an appropriate alternative site” for the proposed Wal-Mart development which should be “situated outside the boundaries of Wilderness Battlefield and out of view from Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park.” We hope the Supervisors are listening.

As you know, Wal-Mart wants to build 240,000 square feet of big-box development within the boundaries of Wilderness Battlefield and just across the road from the Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park in Orange County, Virginia.

Wal-Mart's project would irrevocably harm the battlefield, undermine the visitor's experience of the National Park, and open the door for more incompatible large-scale development at this vulnerable site. That’s why preservationists have asked Wal-Mart to relocate the planned development to another site in Orange County away from the battlefield and National Park.

Ultimately, it is in Wal-Mart's power to change their plans and relocate the planned development.

Rob Nieweg is the Director of the Southern Field Office of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

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.

 

Written by Tamara Wilson

The May meeting of the DC chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) at the National Trust offices.

The DC chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects meeting at the National Trust offices.

In May, the DC chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) held its monthly meeting at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. In honor of National Preservation Month, the focus of the evening was on African American historic preservation projects including revitalization of the historically Black LeDroit Park neighborhood. LeDroit Park, located in Northwest DC not far from Howard University, was home to many famous artists, musicians, and women’s and civil rights activists such as Mary Church Terrell -- whose former house is currently being restored.

Along with the emphasis on protecting her home and places like it, sustainability will be a key issue for the future of these projects. Ronnie McGhee, who is currently a professor at Howard University and a principal at R McGhee & Associates, led an in depth discussion about sustainability and “green” architecture. Both directly tie into historic preservation - - something that gets overlooked in the building industry. Despite having a room filled with professionals and students in the field of architecture, I’m sure I was not the only one amused by the irony of tearing down old buildings in order to make “progress” in African-American communities.

Many residents of predominantly Black neighborhoods debate the pros and cons of historic designation. Some regard preserving homes in formerly segregated districts as a means of honoring the vestiges of something better left forgotten. Others counter that history empowers us, and without it we could not be who we are today. With so many architectural resources still intact or easily salvageable, LeDroit Park provides a connection to important historical figures. African American preservation can be a prototype for sustaining our future while protecting our rich history.

Tamara Wilson is a fourth year architecture major at Howard University.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Guest Writer

Although we're always on the lookout for blog content, we encourage readers to submit story ideas or let us know if you've seen something that might be interesting and engaging for a national audience. Email us at editorial@savingplaces.org.

"Now may be the Time to Show that Wal-Mart has a Heart as Well as a Calculator"

Posted on: July 14th, 2009 by National Trust for Historic Preservation 2 Comments

 

Written by Rob Nieweg

The national fight continues to save historic Wilderness Battlefield, one of the most important Civil War historic sites, from Wal-Mart's flawed proposal to build 240,000 square feet of big-box development on the Wilderness Battlefield and immediately adjacent to the Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park in Orange County, Virginia.

On July 7, 2009, conservative commentator Ben Stein wrote in The American Spectator that Wal-Mart should find another site for its Orange County store.  Mr. Stein wrote:

"Frankly, I wonder if the nice people in Arkansas who run Wal-Mart have thought this through. This battlefield is incredibly important environmentally and historically and emotionally. It reeks of the blood of men fighting for causes they considered sacred. How can it possibly be that it will be used even in part for a Wal-Mart Super Store? Wal-Mart is a great American institution. I am, as noted, about as devout a fan as there is in the national media. But a store is a store and blood is blood. There is plenty of other land in the area that is not historically sensitive. ... Wal-Mart has shown that it is flexible on a number of issues lately, including employee health care. Now may be the time to show that Wal-Mart has a heart as well as a calculator. The blood of those men burned to death, shot through and through, some alive but leaving without their limbs, in what is still America's greatest tragedy, cries out for sanctity. I hope they can hear it in Northwest Arkansas."

Several days later, on July 10th, The American Spectator also published a letter to the editor from Zack Burkett, a member of the Orange County Board of Supervisors.  Later this summer Mr. Burkett will vote to approve or reject Wal-Mart's proposal. In his letter to the editor Mr. Burkett asserts incorrectly that “the proposed site of the Wal-Mart is not on the Battlefield. It is not adjacent to the Battlefield. It cannot be seen from the Wilderness Battlefield.” In fact, as we've reported on PreservationNation.org, Wal-Mart's proposed site is entirely within the historic boundaries of the 1864 Wilderness Battlefield, according to the expert Virginia Dept. of Historic Resources and the blue-ribbon Civil War Sites Advisory Commission. Even Wal-Mart's own consultant, Dovetail Cultural Resource Group, Inc., agrees that the Wal-Mart site is on the historic battlefield. Importantly, Wal-Mart's proposed buildings would be obviously visible from many vantage points in the National Park, according to the National Park Service and private Friends of Wilderness Battlefield -- which have been working in partnership for years to preserve and interpret this hallowed ground for the American public. Unfortunately, if Mr. Burkett and Orange County's elected officials vote based upon incorrect information, Wal-Mart is likely to secure the necessary special use permit.

As our members know well, the National Trust for Historic Preservation owns James Madison's Montpelier and 2,700 acres in Orange County. As a longtime local citizen, the National Trust has raised the alarm -- locally and nationally -- that preservationists are gravely concerned that Wal-Mart's planned development would harm the battlefield, undermine the visitor's experience of the National Park, and open the door to more incompatible development at this nationally significant historic place. The National Trust and its allies do not oppose change and have offered to help plan for battlefield preservation and sustainable growth in Orange County. Local elected officials dismissed our offer.

That's why we've asked Wal-Mart to relocate its development to another site in Orange County but away from the battlefield and National Park. We hope Wal-Mart is listening.

Rob Nieweg is the Director of the Southern Field Office of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

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.