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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. 

efficient land use and existing infrastructure can make it easy to walk.

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.”

Nearly one third of the County is in the Agricultural Reserve, making for a diverse environment that includes diverse jobs and lifestyles

So remember, next time you choose to reinvest in older and historic buildings or live in a historic home, you are being green.

2 Responses to “Recycle More than Just Your Water Bottle”

  1. Thayer-D

    Great posts,
    If one accepts this premis, which I do, then it stands to reason that one ought to replicate some of the elements that made those “historic” buildings last all those years. Building solid structures, ney, overbuilding with natural materials that will never poison us at any stage of their life cycle. Solid brick walls, or with cmu back-up and real wood (2X6) walls. The no-maintenance mantra where by a home-owner is lured by the dream of never having to get off the couch to maintain their house needs to be exposed for the culture of consumption it is. When those plastics crack or fade into a limp shade of their original colour, we throw them into a landfill to break down in 1,000 years, and buy another poison emmiting plastic piece of junk. We need to get beyond the fetish of the new and shiny, and learn to value things that age gracefully. For that matter, we could start with respecting our elders.

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