guest post: Scott Whipple
Back in June I wrote about the Historic Preservation Commissionâs approval of a proposal to install solar panels on the roof of the Sycamore Store, a historic site designated in the Montgomery County Master Plan for Historic Preservation.Â
The panels have been installed.Â Have a look.Â
As discussed back in June, putting solar panels in a highly visible location on a historic resource is not the preferred alternative from a historic preservation perspective, and it is not appropriate in many instances.Â But sometimes, as with the Sycamore Store, it may be the only place on a site where solar panels will operate effectively.Â And, given the nature of the historic resource and the design of the facility, the installation may be compatible with the historic building.
With the project complete, I think the Sycamore Store installation works and illustrates well that preservation and sustainability can and do support each other.Â In my view the Historic Preservation Commission got it right.
Â guest blogger: Lisa Mroszczyk
There is another angle to the sustainability argument.
Rehabilitation projects are labor intensive rather than materials intensive. The need for skilled labor creates jobs that are often sourced locally, whereas manufacturers of materials for new construction are not. This results in more dollars going to people within the community, who turn around and spend that money locally, contributing to the viability of the local economy.
Donovan Rypkema, with the Washington, D.C.-based real estate and economic development consulting firm PlaceEconomics, completed a study on The Value of Historic Preservation in Maryland in 1999 which asked âDoes historic preservation mean jobs?â The study concluded that, âIn Maryland the answer is an unequivocal âyes.ââÂ The report also found that every $1,000,000 spent rehabilitating historic buildings in Maryland created 16.3 construction jobs, 15.4 jobs elsewhere in the economy, and $761,300 increase in total household income.Â
Rypkema also found that rehabilitation created 3.2 more jobs than the same amount spent on new construction; a good thing to ponder during National Preservation Month. So remember, next time you choose to reinvest in older and historic buildings or live in a historic home, you are contributing to a sustainable economy.
Guest Post by Lisa Mroszczyk
Think of all the energy it has taken over generations to build the Countyâs existing building stock. This expenditure is embodied energyâthe energy already invested to process materials, transport them, and finally construct a building.Â Demolition wastes embodied energy.Â When that waste is factored in with the energy needed to transport demolished building materials to a landfill and the energy needed to construct a new building on the site, any net energy savings typically doesn’t kick in for three or four decades.
Reusing existing buildings conserves energy and reduces construction and demolition debris in landfills. During National Preservation Month, we are reminded of historic preservationâs role in sustainability.
- The Brookings Institution predicts that by 2030 we will demolish 82 billion square feet or 1/3 of the existing commercial space. This is enough construction debris to fill 2,500 football stadiums.
- According to information compiled by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, building a new 2,000 square foot house generates 4 pounds of trash per square foot, of which only 20-30% is recycled, and
- Construction of a new 50,000 square foot commercial building requires as much energy as it would take to drive a car 20,000 miles per year, for 730 years.
There’s a new approach to that great American pastime–consumption–that may inspire thrift and creativity. As part of the Rethink speaker’s series, we heard from Â Adeela Abbasi with the Restore, Ruthie Mundell with Community Forklift, and Jason Holstine with Kensignton’s Amicus Green Building Center.
Restore and Forklift resell used and usable building materials from doorknobs to floor joists. And they accept donations, from a contractor who ordered the wrong itemÂ or a homeowner sick ofÂ storing the half box of tiles from a years-agoÂ bathroom renovation.
Amicus does all the homework to help you make the best green building decisions forÂ your lifestyle and budget. Jason pointed out that often the inexpensive and least sexy option is the best–think insulating before geo-thermal.
We were all inspired by the passion that these three bring to their work, not only the primary benefit of sustainability, but the secondary benefits of building and serving all members of our community.
The next free Saturday I have, I’m going to follow tips on the Amicus Spring Greening List, including cleaning the fridge coils and getting a new HVAC filter. Then I’m heading up to the Restore to deliver a half box ofÂ little blue glass bathroom tiles (circaÂ 2001) and another half box ofÂ ceramic kitchen backsplash tiles (circa 1989). Who knows what I’ll come home with!
By the way, this week’s speaker’s panel on culture features Tebabu Assefa who works in the Ethiopian community, Rassa DavoodpourÂ who is a leader in the Persian community, Megan Moriarty with IMPACT Silver Spring, and Reemberto Rodriguez with the Silver Spring Regional Center.