Strategies for Sustainable Historic Preservation  

Education Type: 
1.5 Hours


AIA Learning Units: 
1.5 LU

Preserving historic buildings is essential to understanding our nation's heritage. In addition, it is an environmentally responsible practice. By reusing existing buildings historic preservation is essentially a recycling program of 'historic' proportions. Existing buildings can often be energy efficient through their use of good ventilation, durable materials, and spatial relationships. An immediate advantage of older buildings is that they already exist; therefore energy is not necessary to create new building materials and the infrastructure is already in place. Minor modifications can be made to adapt existing buildings to compatible new uses. Systems can be upgraded to meet modern building requirements and codes.

This not only makes good economic sense, but preserves our legacy and is an inherently sustainable practice. Historic buildings were also traditionally designed with many sustainable features that responded to climate and site. When effectively restored and reused, these features can bring about substantial energy savings. Taking into account historic buildings' original climatic adaptations, today's sustainable technology can supplement inherent sustainable features without compromising unique historic character. This course will provide you with an introduction to the Historic Preservation process with a special focus on how to balance sustainability goals and operations and maintenance practices with preservation solutions.

Learning Objectives

Upon completing this course, you will be able to:

  • Understand at least 3 benefits of historic preservation;
  • Describe the 4 treatment approaches to historic preservation as defined by Secretary of the Interior's Standards;
  • List at least 2 steps in the process of compliance and review that must take place in the Historic Preservation phases;
  • Understand the four basic principles to keep in mind when upgrading systems in historic properties;
  • Describe at least 2 strategies for addressing LEED for Existing Building requirements on a historic property; and
  • Develop an O&M Manual for Historic Structures.