guest blogger: Lisa Mroszczyk
Recycle your house and neighborhood.
During National Preservation Month, the National Trust for Historic Preservation reminds us that just as old buildings are sustainable, so are old communities. Older communities are often built closer to economic centers, they are smaller and have viable existing infrastructure, and can be retrofitted for walking, biking, and transit use. In contrast, developing previously undeveloped land is energy and material intensive and can have significant environmental impacts. The rehabilitation and reuse of buildings in denser, centrally located historic districts and the preservation of agricultural land prevents sprawl and reduces impacts on the environment.
Architect Carl Elefante, author of “The Greenest Building Is…One That Is Already Built,” describes the relationship of preservation to green design: “Even if, with the wave of a green wand, every building constructed from this day hence has a vegetative roof, is powered only with renewable energy sources, and is built entirely of environmentally appropriate materials, sustainability would still be far from fully realized. Seeking salvation through green building fails to account for the overwhelming vastness of the existing building stock…We cannot build our way to sustainability; we must conserve our way to it.”
So remember, next time you choose to reinvest in older and historic buildings or live in a historic home, you are being green.