Old World Craftsmanship Can Provide a ‘Green’ Future
by Amy Lignor
People often say that, “The greenest building is the one that isn’t built yet.” These same people believe that historic buildings, constructed way before LED lighting, geothermal heating and cooling and solar panels were even invented, are ‘architectural creations’ that are more harm than good. However, these closed minds are getting a new education from various builders and inventors as they find ways to take the old and the new resources and combine them together in order to form a perfect shade of “green.”
The powerplant building, Hosting Barnes & Noble booksellers, Hard Rock CAfe, and Phillips Seafood
We are talking about repurposing America by preserving it. There is an astoundingly high number of new buildings being built when there are so many dilapidated ones all across the streets of America. More money is being spent by neighborhoods and cities – money they do not have – to knock some of these abandoned buildings down in order to put up the newest sky-scraper. Yet, by choosing that path, cities and neighborhoods are not only wasting money, they are destroying a piece of their past. Despite environmental negatives in regards to old buildings, the full potential they have for helping the environment is actually there. With simply some restoration, and ideas being generated by open minds, the past can be a benefit to daily life while keeping history intact at the same time.
Rehabilitating a historic property can meet up with naysayers, and does on a frequent basis. The ‘green’ world is all about making the earth a cleaner, healthier place to live, and that can be accomplished by using the past to better the future. In the past two years, a want has emerged through preservationist and naturalist communities – both are all about advocating the ‘green’ world, and keeping the past by using the money being thrown away to knock them down and give the buildings an overhaul. Making the original saying up top turn into: “The greenest building may just be the one that was built long before our time.”
There is a nationwide system set in place in the United States – federal, state and local levels – working to protect and preserve history, by offering extra incentives to builders and owners who choose to hop on board and “green up the past.”
This system’s core comes from the National Park Service that oversees the National Register of Historic Places. This particular area of the government creates the official federal list of districts, sites, structures, and buildings that deserve to be updated and kept for the next generation to enjoy. At least half-a-century old, the buildings they work on are truly significant to America’s past; the superb architecture makes them literal landmarks. And once the National Register recognizes and protects these properties, the ‘greening’ begins.
What many do not know is that buildings were once designed with a variety of sustainable features set in place because of climate and location factors. When these features are restored and reused, instead of knocking them down, the buildings actually provide the country substantial energy savings. And when you take into account the buildings’ original design, 2016 sustainable technology works with these features without ever having to compromise the historic design, look and appeal of the original building.
Historic ‘greening’ projects are happening all over the country, with minds running the operations that truly believe preservation and rehabilitation is what is needed to keep the past and culture alive.
So, on that daily morning walk, take a look at the abandoned building in town that may just be stunning to the ‘eye’ because of its old-world craftsmanship. Take a look before deciding that it is nothing but a waste of space and energy. If choosing to use the past to enhance the present, you create a fantastic world for the next generation. You’ll not only preserve the incredible work of your own ancestors, but you’ll give them a much-needed facelift by using ‘green’ technology.