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National Trust to Senate panel: Green & Historic are compatible

July 7, 2008

Jean Carroon, FAIA, Principal with Goody Clancy Architects and member of the National Trust’s Sustainable Preservation Coalition, recently testified (0618carroon) before a U.S. Senate panel on Improving Energy Efficiency and reducing the carbon footprint of the U.S. Capitol Complex. In her remarks, she concludes that “through improved energy efficiency and an increase in the use of renewable sources of energy at the Capitol Complex, the United States Senate has the opportunity to demonstrate to the American public the important role our older and historic buildings play in reducing carbon emissions.”

Among her recommendations for taking advantage of historic buildings’ opportunities for “greening” while preserving historic integrity:

  • Green Roofs: The flat roofs and even sloped roofs of many historic buildings often easily accept planted or green roofs which reduce storm water run-off, increase building insulation and lower the summer air temperature.
  • Solar Panels: Historic buildings with metal and slate roofs can often accept solar panels without damaging the existing fabric. Placement can be discreet and the installations can be reversible.
  • On Site Wind Generation: Historic sites in Great Britain have taken advantage of new technologies in wind for an almost sculptural element carefully placed on sites with review of the supervising historic groups.
  • Awnings: Once ever present on all buildings including the most historic, awnings, just like modern light shades, can be used to significantly reduce the solar gain. It is an application that is both reversible and renewable.
  • Interior storm windows: Windows are a source of great tension between advocates of tight building envelopes and people that appreciate the durability, beauty and repairability of historic wood windows. Existing windows can be improved with good maintenance, interior storms
    windows and newly developed films that offer similar properties as low-e glass.
  • Lighting Strategies: Evaluate existing lighting. Make sure it is appropriate to the space and task and only on when needed. Install occupancy sensors and daylighting sensors.
  • Office Equipment and other electronics: Consider the efficiency of all electronics in the building and what the potentials for energy savings are – powering down and turning off computers, printers, copiers and vending machines.
  • Green Purchasing: This includes Energy Star-qualified electronics and products used for cleaning, office supplies and in the kitchens and restrooms.
  • Water Conservation: Modifying existing toilets and faucets to aerate water and limit the operating time of fixtures can reduce water use by 40 percent in existing facilities. Provide filtered water and NOT transported bottled water.
  • Improve Day-lighting: Where retrofitting is possible, add skylights and movable glass partitions that bring light deep into a building and share it among spaces.
  • Increase Building Use Density: Take advantage of unused and underutilized spaces by careful space planning and renovations. We calculate energy consumption by square foot without considering whether a building is fully and actively utilized.
  • Install Walkoff Mats and Clean Greening Plans: Take advantage of new knowledge to decrease the amount of materials carried into a building and the utilization of green cleaning which by itself can significantly reduce the use of chemicals, paper and plastic trash bags.

Respect for historic integrity
An increasing number of sensitive and successful rehabilitation projects demonstrate conclusively that historic buildings can go green without losing the distinctive character that makes them significant and appealing. Architects, developers and property owners do not have to choose between getting the energy-efficiency they want or keeping the character they love; they can have both.

Testimony of JEAN CARROON, FAIA, PRINCIPAL, GOODY CLANCY AND NATIONAL TRUST FOR HISTORIC PRESERVATION SUSTAINABLE PRESERVATION COALITION MEMBER Before the COMMITTEE ON RULES AND ADMINISTRATION, UNITED STATES SENATE, HON. DIANNE FEINSTEIN, CHAIRMAN. June 18, 2008

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Rob permalink
    July 7, 2008 9:54 pm

    Sheesh. Lisa Jackson ought to be required to read THIS! How far out of it is DEP leadership, anyway?

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