The Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation is offering a half-day session on increasing the energy efficiency of historic homes while maintaining historic integrity.    Learn more about the May 17th program.

From CT website:  Searching for ways to save money on energy costs AND maintain the integrity of your historic house?

Then you will not want to miss this program! Hoffner Residential Conservation Services will perform an energy audit for the circa 1827 Eli Whitney Boarding House for Working Men which will include a demonstration of blower door and infrared testing.  Jay Bright, AIA, Architect, certified by the State Historic Commission, will discuss ways to increase the energy efficiency of the building while maintaining its historic integrity.

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.

Richard Moe Interviewed on "The Q & A Cafe with Carol Joynt"

Posted on: May 9th, 2008 by Sarah Heffern


Yesterday, National Trust for Historic Preservation President Richard Moe was interviewed for Washington, DC's The Q&A Cafe with Carol Joynt. The 45-minute conversation covered a variety of topics -- from the changing role of the vice president (Moe was chief of staff to Vice President Walter Mondale), to the newest National Trust Historic Site, President Lincoln's Cottage, to the importance of Main Street communities. He discussed endangered sites in DC -- most notably St. Elizabeth's Hospital and the Smithsonian Arts & Industries building, both of which have been listed on the 11 Most Endangered list in recent years. Moe also fielded questions on the relationship between historic preservation and sustainability, the ongoing restoration efforts along the Gulf Coast, and the National Trust's first international project, Finca Vigia in Cuba.

If you happen to be in the DC area, the program will be repeated several times over the weekend:

  • Friday at 8:00 p.m. on Washington, DC Cable/TV-16,
  • Saturday at 6:00 p.m. on Washington, DC's NewsChannel 8, and
  • Sunday at 11:00 p.m. also on NewsChannel 8.

For those of you outside the capital city, there's YouTube:

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.

Sarah Heffern

Sarah Heffern

Sarah Heffern is the social media strategist for the National Trust’s Public Affairs team. While she embraces all things online and pixel-centric, she’s also a hard-core building hugger, having fallen for preservation in a fifth grade “Built Environment” class. Follow her on Twitter at @smheffern.


Like my colleague Patrice, I have been traveling around the country the past 6 months discussing our Sustainability Initiative and showing those same scary slides she referenced in her blog posting – “Is There Any Hope For Us?” At the Green Life Fashion Show at Lyndhurst last week, several people came up to me and said, “I had no idea that buildings were responsible for 48% of the greenhouse gas emissions in the US. That was sobering.” Like Patrice, I am convinced that we can save the world if we all work hard and start making better choices and we use our voice to impact the political will. What I tell everyone in my presentations is that in 25 years of being an architect, I’ve never experienced such an exciting challenge and such a scary time too. I’ve never felt before like I do today - what I’m doing every day can make so much difference.

Talking About Global Warming in Seattle
I was invited to participate in a 2 day Symposium/Workshop in Seattle April 14-15. Called “New Pathways – Historic Preservation & Sustainability”, it was sponsored by the Washington State Historic Preservation Office, the Northwest Region of GSA, the City of Seattle and the Washington Association of Building Officials. Now I admit I’m biased (I lived in Seattle for 3 years before moving to DC, and loved every minute of it), but this was one of the most informed and productive sustainability events I have had the fortune to participate in. And beyond just expressing my admiration to the organizers, I wanted to report on many of the things I learned here – some of which I am sure can help you in your work or personal lives.

First, I want to think the organizers for giving me an hour to pontificate on global warming, the impact on buildings and buildings’ impact on climate change, and why preservation needs to be part of any discussion on how to solve and halt it. I won’t report on my talk (you can my read my previous blogs, especially those about our work with the USGBC and the revisions to LEED, and the Trust’s Sustainability webpage), but I will share the information that my learned Northwest colleagues presented. After I gave the keynote, I spent the first day taking notes so I could be the rapporteur (and provocateur) at the end of the day.

... Read More →

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.

Barbara Campagna

Barbara A. Campagna, FAIA, LEED AP BD+C was formerly the Graham Gund Architect of the National Trust in the Stewardship of Historic Sites office. She is currently a sustainability consultant to the National Trust and can be reached at

Is there any hope for us?

Posted on: May 7th, 2008 by Patrice Frey


In recent weeks I've done quite a bit of traveling to speak on the subject of preservation and sustainability -- and I’m always interested in hearing what people ask at the end of the session.

Inevitably, there are questions about windows and solar panels, tax incentives and the costs of going green. But there was one question I received recently -- this time in Knoxville, TN -- that really threw me for a loop: “Is there any hope for us?”

Now why would you ask that?

Maybe it was the first few slides of my presentation, which focus on this whole global warming mess. Perhaps it was the slide that says that if everyone in the world consumed as much as we do in the United States, we would need six planets to sustain that level of resource consumption.

Or maybe it was the slide with the map of per capita carbon emissions in the United States that helps us visualize the massive demographic shift that has taken place in recent decades, as folks flee the northeast and midwest for points west and southwest.

Notice all that red and orange on the map above? That’s the mark of particularly atrocious carbon emissions in areas of the country where sprawl has run particularly rampant. And keep in mind that this demographic shift leaves disinvestment and destruction in its wake, as urban centers in the rust belt empty out. Think of all those old cities -- many of which were built in a traditional, compact form -- and the infrastructure and buildings that are utterly wasted, now replaced with mind-numbing sprawl that ravages another part of the country.

So back to our question. Is there any hope for us? With cautious optimism, I vote yes and refer you to a piece written by Michael Pollan (of Omnivore’s Dilemma fame) in the New York Times. The global warming crisis, he points out, is “nothing more or less than the sum total of countless little everyday choices, most of them made by us (consumer spending represents 70 percent of our economy), and most of the rest of them made in the name of our needs and desires and preferences.”

Ah-hah. We have identified the cause of our problem, and that cause is us. I think that means we’ve also identified the solution. The solution has a name, has a face, has a wallet, and (in this country anyway) a vote. It’s you, and it’s me. The decisions we make every day matter – whether it’s bringing your commuter mug to Starbucks rather than taking a to-go cup, or deciding that perhaps you don’t need to demolish your 1200 square foot house to replace it with a McMansion. All those decisions can and will make a difference.

And that’s cause enough for hope. Pass it on.

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.

Notes from the Field: Protecting Historic Belle Grove Plantation

Posted on: May 7th, 2008 by National Trust for Historic Preservation


The National Trust for Historic Preservation’s 283-acre property and 1797 manor house at Belle Grove Plantation is a National Historic Landmark and the heart of the 3,500-acre Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park.

Belle Grove manor house with quarry waste pile. (credit: National Park Service)Unfortunately, Carmeuse Lime & Stone, a Belgian mining conglomerate, is trying to rezone 639 rural acres immediately adjacent to Belle Grove and the National Historical Park in order to radically expand Carmeuse’s industrial quarry operation. The Frederick County Board of Supervisors held a public hearing on April 28, 2008, and may vote on the rezoning application at the Board’s May 28 meeting.

The National Trust and Belle Grove, Inc., the nonprofit partner which operates Belle Grove Plantation, are gravely concerned that the rezoning and quarry expansion would severely harm Belle Grove and the National Historical Park. (Please see the National Trust’s April 22, 2008 letter to Frederick County.) Preservationists anticipate visual intrusions harming our world-famous scenic vistas, vibration damage to historic structures from quarry blasting, and threats to public safety from the parade of heavy quarry trucks that will travel along the Valley Turnpike (Route 11) through the National Historical Park and historic Middletown. The quarry expansion, as planned, also would destroy 500 acres of well-preserved Civil War battlefield just outside of the boundaries of the National Historical Park.

The National Trust and Belle Grove, Inc. have requested that Carmeuse systematically analyze and commit to avoid, reduce, or mitigate potential harm to scenic vistas, impacts from heavy truck traffic, and vibration damage from blasting. Carmeuse has not followed through or attempted to meet with the National Trust or Belle Grove. Nevertheless, we remain open to discussing with Carmeuse mutually satisfactory ways to expand the quarry without irrevocably harming Belle Grove, the National Historical Park, and the Civil War battlefield.

Carmeuse’s ill-considered quarry expansion, as currently proposed, is opposed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Belle Grove, Inc., Virginia Department of Historic Resources, National Park Service, Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation, Civil War Preservation Trust, APVA – Preservation Virginia, National Parks Conservation Association, and Preserve Frederick.

-- Rob Nieweg

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

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.

Notes from New Orleans: Volunteers Rebuilding in Broadmoor

Posted on: May 6th, 2008 by Walter Gallas


Volunteers at the project site in Broadmoor.

Seventeen National Trust for Historic Preservation volunteers were in town this past week to participate in rebuilding efforts in the Broadmoor neighborhood. This was part of the nationwide HGTV/Rebuilding Together events that had kicked off on New Year’s Day at the Rose Bowl. Kevin Mercadel of the field office gave them an overview of our work here in New Orleans and later led a tour of the city for them. On Friday, I met the group in Broadmoor as they were finishing up on N. Tonti Street. Without exception, the volunteers—a mix of all ages and from all parts of the country—were enthusiastic about their experience. I encouraged them to take the message home about what they saw and heard in New Orleans and to come back again as a visitor or volunteer. The next New Orleans volunteer team sponsored by the National Trust is being organized for the week of June 23.

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.