Keep Thinking Green - Buildings That Is

Operating buildings produces 43 percent of America's carbon emissions. It takes 50 years for the energy used to build a green building to be compensated for by the energy savings the building creates.
is the magazine of the National Trust for Historic Preservation

These were the words of Richard Moe, President of the National Trust for Historic Preservation at a recent speech. In the same speech, Moe released the Pocantico Proclamation on Sustainability and Preservation which was developed by preservationists, architects, green builders and energy experts.

Here are some highlights worth pondering from Lloyd Alter at

Principle #1: Promote a culture of reuse
In addition to building green, we have to make wiser use of what we’ve already built. One of the basic truths we acknowledge about climate change is that it is fundamentally the result of overconsumption of natural resources – namely carbon-intense resources such as oil and coal. The retention and reuse of older buildings is an effective tool for the responsible, sustainable stewardship of our environmental resources – including those that have already been expended.
Principle #2: Reinvest at a Community Scale
Instead of building more and more highways and strip malls and subdivisions, we ought to be reinvesting in the communities we already have. LEED Neighborhood Development has an entire section, Green Infrastructure and Buildings, that focuses on this. LEED ND,
encourages preservation and reuse of older buildings instead of demolition.

Principle #3: Value the Lessons of Heritage Buildings and Communities
It is often alleged that historic buildings are energy hogs but in fact, some older buildings are as energy-efficient as many recently built.

Principle #4: Make Use of the Economic Advantages of Reuse, Reinvestment and Retrofits
Dollar for dollar, rehabilitation creates more jobs than new construction. One study found that one million dollars invested in the rehabilitation of an existing building creates 9-13 more jobs than the same million invested in new construction. As Van Jones says, The main piece of technology in the green economy is a caulk gun.

Principle #5: Re-imagine Historic Preservation Policies and Practices as They Relate to Sustainability
In its early years, preservation focused on keeping buildings from being torn down. Now we understand that just saving them is not enough. We also have to do our best to improve their energy efficiency and ensure that their impact on the environment is not harmful.

Principle #6: Take Immediate and Decisive Action
It’s not enough to talk about how historic preservation can inform green building, or how green building practices can be integrated with preservation practices. We must roll up our sleeves and put these principles into practice.

How is this related to gardening?
If you have not read the book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kinsolver, check it out from the library, buy it online, or get the CD and listen to it while you drive around Christmas shopping.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Use up what you have. Do without. Grow food at home and buy from the locals: Better, fresher, closer to home.
Kingsolver's website is here. And, here is the AnimalVegetableMiracle site.
Learn how to pitch in to create a sustainable future for generations of humans, animals and plants that will come after us.

Locally, here is an old postcard of one of the buildings in our town, the Manhattan Building.

A tip of the trowel to Jerry Gustafson, Tulsa Master Gardener for sending me the article.

And, here is a link to some of the fine historic homes in our town.
Historic Homes of Muskogee OK


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