Guest blogger: Lisa Mroszczyk
Yes, you read that right. Many older buildings, particularly those constructed prior to 1920, are green. May is National Preservation Month and the National Trust for Historic Preservation is using the month-long celebration to highlight the important role that older and historic buildings play in environmentally and economically sustainable communities.
Often, older buildings were designed and built to work with the environment. Buildings with operable windows provide natural ventilation and daylight. Covered porches, awnings and shutters reduce solar heat gain in the warmer months. Thoughtful orientation of the building on its site maximizes wind and sun patterns. In fact, U.S. Energy Information Agency research establishes that buildings built prior to 1920 are more energy efficient that those constructed in the 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s. Not until after 2000 were buildings constructed to be more energy efficient than those built prior to 1920.
More thought and attention needs to be given to the sustainable qualities of older buildings before accepting arguments for demolition or unsympathetic alterations under the guise of concern about climate change.