Green Preservation

Finally. Word may be reaching the masses that preservation is environmentally sensitive.

Preservationists say green architecture isn’t just about building new energy efficient buildings that use solar panels, rooftop gardens and the latest cutting edge technology.

According to Mike Jackson of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, re-using existing buildings can save more energy than building new ones. He says that’s because we often don’t consider all the energy that went into building it in the first place, what he calls embodied energy.

JACKSON: It’s basically all the energy to extract materials, process them, transport them, get the workers to the job site and build a whole building.

Jackson says re-using historic buildings also preserves a part of our culture. He says many historic buildings are also located in high density areas, which means people don’t have to use cars to get there.

I’ve been saying this for a while. But it bears repeating. Old buildings, with the embodied energy from their construction and creation of the materials, start out way ahead of new construction in terms of energy efficiency. Preservation is the original green building strategy.