Why “Beyond Green Building?”

Posted on: September 5th, 2007 by Patrice Frey

 

There is great enthusiasm (understandably) among environmentalists about green buildings innovations, such as new materials that contain low embodied energy, highly efficient HVAC systems, and thermally resistant windows. And since about 40% of carbon emissions in the United States are attributed to buildings, there is good reason to construct more environmentally friendly buildings.

But I often find the exuberance about green building a bit troubling. In my view, we find ourselves facing significant environmental challenges largely because of our culture of disposability – whether it's plastic water bottles we toss in landfills, or buildings we mow down after 20 years when they’ve served their "useful life." Thermally resistant windows and green roofs won't fix the problem.

That's why I think this is such an exciting time for the field of historic preservation. As the antithesis of disposability, preservation encompasses two things that are essential to any sustainable society: valuing what we have and planning for the future. Preservationists inherently place value on what has been handed down to us from the past, and plan so that these resources can be enjoyed now and protected for future generations. That's the very definition of sustainability.

I've settled with the name "Beyond Green Building" because I hope this blog will help advance the discussion beyond our fixation with green building, to a conversation about what really makes for a sustainable society.

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.

Beyond Green Building: Morning Roundup

Posted on: September 5th, 2007 by Patrice Frey

 

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.

Beyond Green Building: Morning Roundup

Posted on: September 4th, 2007 by Patrice Frey

 

Welcome to my first “Morning Roundup." Today's stories are below. I’m also including some good finds from last week, since news was a bit slow over the Labor Day weekend.

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.

Welcome to Beyond Green Building

Posted on: September 4th, 2007 by Patrice Frey 1 Comment

 

In the next few days, the National Trust will launch a featured section on its web site for the Sustainability Initiative. This Initiative was created in 2006 in recognition of the strong relationship between historic preservation and sustainable development. Sustainable development, commonly understood as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs,”* is now widely acknowledged to include three elements, including environmental, economic and social sustainability. Preservation promotes all three goals.

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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.

Developer to Raze Estate

Posted on: August 30th, 2007 by Margaret Foster 1 Comment

 

Dunminning Estate’s contents were sold last weekend, and no laws prevent its imminent demolition. (Chris Driscoll)A Pennsylvania developer is preparing to demolish a c. 1897 mansion in Newtown Square, Pa., outside Philadelphia.

At a so-called "pre-demolition sale" last weekend, many of the Dunminning Mansion's interior features, including several of its six mantels, were marked "sold," according to Chris Driscoll, vice president of the Newtown Square Historical Preservation Society, so the 15,000-square-foot mansion's days are numbered. A spokesman for Bentley Homes says it will be razed within 30 days.

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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.