The Future of LEED and Historic Preservation


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This presentation was given at the 2011 conference for the Society of Industrial Archaeologists in Seattle, WA.

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  • First, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page by clarifying what we mean by Historic Preservation and Sustainable DesignWebster’s and Wikipedia have their own definitions. I particularly like the canning and pickling….For our purposes, the definition we want is from the Secretary of the Interior.Preservationfocuses on the maintenance and repair of existing historic materials and retention of a property’s form as it has evolved over time
  • Day to day, we see historic preservation in many different forms.
  • Similar to historic preservation, there are many definitions of sustainability.Webster’s and Wikipedia offer definitions of sustainabilityThe 1987 Bruntland Report’s definition became the basis of sustainable design as it is embodied by the USGBC.Sustainability is manifested in many different forms as well.
  • Similar to historic preservation, we see sustainable design manifested in many different forms.Here are a few common ones. There are many other forms.
  • There is another form of sustainability brought to my attention by Donovan RypkemaKing Sturge, a Real Estate Consultant in the UK offers this statement on Corporate Social Responsibility.An Economic impact…An Environmental impact…A Social (and we might add, cultural) impact…Rypkema has drawn some interesting connections with sustainable design.Remember this statement: we’ll come back to it.
  • In his speech given at the Sustain America Conference, Rypkema suggests that a sustainable community must be viable, livable, and equitable.He further offers one way that historic preservation relates to this sustainable community, drawing connections to the King Sturge Corporate Social Responsibility Statement.
  • He suggests that:1. An equitable community is one that is economically, socially, and culturally responsible, an extension of the King Sturge statement of Corporate Social Responsibility.2. A viable community is one that is economically and environmentally responsible.3. A livable community is one that is environmentally, socially, and culturally responsible.How does this translate into the world of historic preservation and sustainable design? Let’s look.
  • Material conservation Construction debris accounts for 1/3 of all waste generated in the US The US produces 136 million tons of construction and demolition debris annually Only 20-30% of construction waste is recycled or reusedEnergy conservationThe Restoration Study of Lincoln Hall at UIUC indicates that there is a greater percentage of improvement in cost savings by restoring existing wood windows than installing replacement windowsAnd it is material conservation as well!Embodied energy – Quote …if embodied energy is worked into the equation, even a new, energy-efficient office building doesn’t actually start saving energy for about 40 years. And if it replaces an older building that was knocked down and hauled away, the breakeven period stretches to some 65 years… - Mike Jackson, Preservation Magazine, January 2008 In Australia, they’ve calculated that the embodied energy in the existing building stock is equivalent to ten years of the total energy consumption of the entire country. Historic Preservation of buildings conserves materials, conserves energy, and avoids waste of embodied energy as well as avoiding impacts from new construction. Historic Preservation is an environmentally sustainable practice.
  • Economic Sustainability Business incubatorNew businesses are frequently found in older parts of cities because of the lower overhead costsProperty values increaseIn 2006, the Washington Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation completed their Economic Development Study. This study showed that Bellingham, WA, landmark district property values increased 500% to 600% over a 20 year period.Job creation (more labor)This study also showed that new construction costs areabout 50% labor and 50% materials. Rehabilitation is 60% to 70% labor – and less materials.Rehabilitation projects generate 27.5 jobs for every $1 million invested. This is more jobs created than finance and insurance, new construction, wood product manufacturing, food manufacturing, and aerospace manufacturing for the same investment.Keeps money localMoney paid into labor market gets spent in the same regions since labor is local.Money is not sent to far flung companies across the country – or the world, in our global economy.Heritage tourismThe DAHP study also shows that Heritage Tourism generates nearly 32 jobs for every $1 million invested. PEIM Model from NTCICThe National Trust Community Investment Corporation (“NTCIC”) uses the Preservation Economic Impact Model (“PEIM”), created by the Center for Urban Policy and Research at Rutgers University, to forecast the total economic effects of the rehabilitation of commercial historic buildings. This program calculates the direct, indirect, and induced components of jobs generated by rehabilitation projects.Historic Preservation of buildings increases property values, creates more jobs, keeps money local, and encourages heritage tourism. Historic Preservation is an economically sustainable practice.
  • Cultural SustainabilityIs based on memory – you can’t sustain a culture without the long term memory of what it is and our built environment provides the concrete evidence of that culture.Specialist trades (plasterers, woodworkers and carpenters, terra cotta and stone masons, etc.) must be continued to preserve their techniques, conventions, and wisdom.Any man made item is an inherent example of the culture in which it is createdIn the broader view, we are in the midst of a mass movement towards economic globalization. HP prevents being overwhelmed by cultural change that comes with economic globalization. It preserves local cultures and traditions.Social equality – Many economic sustainability indicators are also social equality indicatorsJobs creation in the area of heritage tourism, rehabilitation, and related industries bring jobs to all levels of our communities as shown in the DAHP study.Affordable housing – just quit tearing down existing buildings. They’re less expensive to renovate than to build new,result in lower costs for tenants, and have longer life cycles!Business incubator – We’ve all heard the statistics that new jobs are created in small businesses. Some 80 to 85% of new jobs are in small businesses. Businesses thrive because of low overhead in older parts of cities.Historic Preservation sustains our memories, supports specialist trades and continues local culture and traditions. It creates jobs, presents affordable housing opportunities and incubates businesses. Historic Preservation is a culturally and socially sustainable practice.
  • Going back to the diagram I showed earlier. Historic Preservation is an integral part of a sustainable community.It supports economically, socially, and culturally responsible communities – equitable communities.It supports economically and environmentally responsible communities – viable communities.It supports socially, culturally, and economically responsible communities – livable communities.When I think of the historic districts I know, they are vibrant, vital and cherished by their communities.
  • To understand where sustainable design is going, it’s helpful to understand where it iscoming from.I discussed the origins of the USGBC and LEED with Michael Tomlan, the director of Graduate Programs in Historic Preservation Planning at Cornell University. He offered the following brief history.The USGBC began with technological gimmicks for HVAC systems.Eventually, material suppliers came on board and sustainable products began to be available.The origins of sustainable design had nothing to do with historic preservation and their practice was to offer new materials and products rather than understanding and working with existing buildings and materials.In 1987, the Bruntlandreport wasdelivered to the UN General Assembly. Through it’s implementation, the “Environment, Economy, Ecology” triad which we are familiar with today was established.The environmental movement did not focus on equality or social and cultural responsibilities. It was something new altogether. It was elitist and focused on engineering new solutions to age old problems.
  • At the same time Sustainable Design is evolving, so too the US economy is evolving. It is evolving from an industrial economy focused on agrarian and manufacturing jobs to a service economy primarily focused around the health care and educational systems.How do we know this? Consider what projects are still going in a down economy – medical, educational, and public works projects. Consider where much of the jobs are being created – education and healthcare.You’ll all recall the hotly debated economic bailout package at the beginning of the Obama administration. It cost us taxpayers a stunning 800 billion dollars. What was it for? Largely public works projects. Did you know that there is another public works package being considered in Congress even now? And that it is 1.3 trillion dollars?It is said that for every dollar of construction projects, like those supported by the bailout package, that an additional dollar is spent in related social services. Given the focus of the economy is shifting to services, it’s fairly reasonable to assume that some of the attention of the sustainable design movement will turn to equality, social, and cultural areas for it’s advancement.
  • How does the changing focus of our economy affect the direction of sustainable design?As has been seen in efforts to reduce the Washington State budget, some legislators are trying to reduce the funding for construction and capital project bonding limits. Where is the funding going? It to be targeted toward support of the social services at many state agencies.This has the consequence of reducing the jobs and taxes and economic stimulation that capital projects create. It also has the consequence of shortening building life cycles. As funding available is reduced and demand for space does not, the cost per square foot goes down. This results in less durable construction. These buildings will then have to be completely replaced sooner rather than rehabilitated.This reduced life cycle is not a sustainable practice. It is the place of sustainable design to create and promote buildings with long life cycles.Perhaps it is also appropriate for historic preservation to focus on truly quality buildings that have long life cycles on the order of centuries rather than decades.
  • Indeed, it’s been said by the USGBC that future development of LEED criteria will be in the areas of economic, social, and cultural equality.USGBC’s 2010 Awards of Excellence focused primarily on solidifying relationships, building political capital, and outreach to policymakers and industry experts. What is less clear, but equally present, is that the recipients of these awards were involved in the spreading of the sustainable design to create a broader appeal at all socio-economic levels. One award winner is working closely with Habitat for Humanity, another on low income housing.In a February press release, the USGBC endorsed President Obama’s “Better Buildings Initiative.”The release goes on to say: “The jobs supported by the green building industry can’t be outsourced, and they are jobs that frequently can build on skills learned in the manufacturing sector. This also frees up those wasted dollars for growth in the private sector and for groceries in America’s households.” Local job creation in an economy evolving away from manufacturing.Last week, a USGBC Blog said that efforts to create a sustainable design code have been in progress since 2006 and have resulted in ASHRAE Standard 189.1 and the International Green Construction Code which is in it’s second round of hearings. Last year, California became the first state to adopt a statewide green building code. Earlier this year, Maryland became the first state in the Union to pass legislation enabling the adoption of the IGCC by all local governments as well as at the state level.Another USGBC Blog article says that the USGBC supports Senator Carper’s Reducing Federal Energy Dollars Act of 2011. It aims to reduce energy costs by re-commissioning federally owned and leased buildings and makes sure projects are using “the most up to date technologies and practices….”Sustainable Design practices are becoming embedded in our every day lives, including governmental policies and regulations. However, this does not necessarily mean higher quality, longer life cycle buildings…
  • I would like to offer a few different perspectives on where historic preservation should be going in the future:PriyyaChayaproposes that HP needs to broaden its visibility and outreach through:CommunicationsPartnershipsAlliances…and broaden the definition of preservation in terms of:CommunityDiversitySustainabilityAuthenticity
  • In another National trust chat, asuggestion was made that we focus on Value Based Preservation. Local community based preservationists respect “why” something is valuable – and the “what” is then preserved.Perhaps then the role of preservation experts is two-fold:First, We are the enablers and supporters of preservation by communicating the intent of preservation and its values, and we help to guide how a place that matters is preserved.Second, Values of preservation become critical, else there is no respect and no consistency amongst what is saved for future generations and how it is saved.What are the values of preservation? They are expressed in our designation criteria. These are the values that are not well understood in our broader communityMost people see “landmark” and stop thinking about why something is a landmark. Education and spreading the understanding of why a place matters becomes critical.If the framework of the designation criteria has merit, then the future of historic preservation should include better promotion of and eduction about them.
  • At the annual Preservation Conference in 2009, Donovan Rypkema suggested:That in order to move forward, preservationists should reexamine the regulatory environment, philosophy, and education of the preservation field. Preservationists should not remain fixated on strict authenticity; instead, they should allow buildings and cities to evolve over time.  They should develop new land-use tools aside from historic designation, and broaden their focus from “green” buildings to the bigger picture of sustainable development.  He also encouraged preservationists to start paying more attention to changing demographics, since the preservationists of the future will mirror the changing composition of this country.
  • I’ll conclude with an inspiring view of our past from Michael Crichton’s novel Timeline.His character Doniger explains:"We are all ruled by the past, although no one understands it. No one recognizes the power of the past," "A teenager has breakfast, then goes to the store to buy the latest CD of a new band. The kid thinks he lives in a modern moment. But who has defined what a 'band' is? Who defined a 'store'? Who defined a 'teenager'? Or 'breakfast'? "None of this has been decided in the present. Most of it was decided hundreds of years ago. This kid is sitting on top of a mountain that is the past. And he never notices it. He is ruled by what he never sees, never thinks about, doesn't know. It is a form of coercion that is accepted without question. This is real power. Power that can be taken, and used. For just as the present is ruled by the past, so is the future. That is why I say, the future belongs to the past.Doniger goes on to argue that the artifice of the modern day will compel people to seek out authenticity - where things exist for their own sake. “The past is inarguably authentic.”“Let us be clear. History is not a dispassionate record of dead events. Nor is it a playground for scholars to indulge their trivial disputes.The purpose of history is to explain the present - to say why the world around us is the way it is. History tells us what is important in our world, and how it came to be. It tells us why the things we value are the things we should value. And it tells us what is to be ignored, or discarded. That is true power - profound power. The power to define a whole society.The future lies in the past - in whoever controls the past.I would suggest that this is all the more reason for us to approach our work with enthusiasm tempered by integrity. To apply the Standards and our criteria for designation in as clear and unbiased a manner as possible. To make ourselves and our movement as broadly understood and appealing as the modern trends that so attract our children.The future lies in the past, and we control that past.
  • The Future of LEED and Historic Preservation

    1. 1. Historic Preservation and Sustainable Design Trends toward the future SUSTAINABLE PRESERVATION ARCHITECTURE & CONSTRUCTION MANAGEMENT WWW.RICHAVEN.COM 206.909.9866
    2. 2. Snoqualmie Falls Lumber Co. Power Plant 1. Understand commonalities between historic preservation and sustainable design practices 2. Learn about trends in sustainable design 3. Learn and discuss trends in historic preservation Photo courtesy of King County Historic Preservation Program
    3. 3. Richmond Laundry Building, Seattle, WA Historic preservation and sustainable design are inextricably intertwined. Historic preservation is inherently a sustainable building practice. The trend for both fields in the future is to broaden their involvement, inclusion, and integration into our daily lives.
    4. 4. Webster’s: ▪ To keep safe from injury, harm, or destruction: protect ▪ To keep alive, intact, or free from decay: maintain ▪ To keep or save from decomposition ▪ To can, pickle, or similarly prepare for future use ▪ To keep up and reserve for personal or special use Wikipedia Historic preservation is an endeavor that seeks to preserve, conserve and protect buildings, objects, landscapes or other artifacts of historic significance. Secretary of the Interior’s Treatment of Historic Properties: Preservation focuses on the maintenance and repair of existing historic materials and retention of a property’s form as it has evolved over timeMary Gates Hall, University of WashingtonTacoma Narrows Bridge,Tacoma, WA
    5. 5. Preservation of buildings and structures through designation: • County, City or local designation • State and National designation • Inventories • Zoning Code Overlay Districts Preservation is also: • Cultural continuity • Social customs and traditions • Communities that endure Elliot Bay Book Store, Seattle, WA
    6. 6. Webster’s Dictionary: ▪ Give support or relief ▪ Support the weight ▪ Keep up; prolong ▪ Bear up; endure ▪ Supply with sustenance; nourish; nurture Wikipedia: Sustainable design is the philosophy of designing physical objects, the built environment, and services to comply with the principles of economic, social, and ecological sustainability. The Bruntland Report (1987): Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. credit
    7. 7. Sustainability through certification and regulation: ▪ LEED and the USGBC ▪ WSSP forWashington Schools ▪ Product certification (eg., Greenseal) ▪ IGCC (InternationalGreen Construction Code) Sustainable Design is also known as: ▪ Environmental (-ly conscious) design ▪ “Green” Design ▪ NewUrbanism ▪ Traditional Neighborhood Design ▪ NewCommunity Design Sustainability is also: ▪ Perpetuating our societies ▪ Supporting our economy ▪ Nourishing our ecology ▪ Nurturing our environment
    8. 8. King Sturge: Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Statement: “As a business we are clearly focused on achieving commercial success, but we realise that the way in which we run our business has an economic, social and environmental impact. We have a CSR framework to ensure that we maintain the focus on achieving commercial success by incorporating ethical values, respect for people, communities and the natural environment into our business activities, culture and strategy.” Image by Brian Rich
    9. 9. To be sustainable, a community must be: • Viable • Livable • Equitable Image by Brian Rich
    10. 10. Image by Brian Rich
    11. 11. Historic Preservation is Environmental Sustainability: • Material conservation • Energy conservation • Embodied energy 1909 Iron Pergola, Seattle, WA
    12. 12. Historic Preservation is Economic Sustainability: • Business incubator • Property values increase • Job creation • Money stays local • Heritage tourism • Preservation Economic Impact Model (NationalTrust Community Investment Corporation & Rutgers) Mary Gates Hall, University of WashingtonHailstone Feed Store, Issaquah, WA Issaquah_-_Hailstone_Feed_Store.jpg
    13. 13. Historic Preservation is Social & Cultural Sustainability: Culture: • Memory • Specialist trades • Man-made = example of culture • Globalization Social: • Jobs creation • Affordable housing • Business incubators • Encourages social interaction and civic engagement. Mary Gates Hall, University of WashingtonThe Kalakala, 1947, Washington State Ferries
    14. 14. Image by Brian Rich
    15. 15. Start with where they came from…. • Technological gimmicks for HVAC systems • Materials suppliers joined the movement • The Bruntland Report of 1987: “Our Common Future” • The evolution of the US economy from an industrial industry to a service industry Mary Gates Hall, University of WashingtonFederal Courthouse/Union Station, Tacoma, WA
    16. 16. Economy of the PAST: • Agrarian • Manufacturing • Industrial • Natural resource based Economy of the FUTURE: • Healthcare • Education • Services Based Gasworks Park, Seattle, WA
    17. 17. Changes in economy affect our funding Reductions to capital and maintenance budgets Focus on building higher quality buildings with long life cycles Mary Gates Hall, University of WashingtonCape Disappointment Lighthouse, Ilwaco, WA
    18. 18. Sustainable Design FUTURE: • Economic Equality • Social Equality • Cultural Equality Not just a fashionable movement: • Embedded in regulatory requirements such as model codes • Embedded in political policies at local, state and federal levels Georgetown Steam Plant, Seattle WA!Georgetown_PowerPlant_Museum_boiler_pan_P.jpg
    19. 19. NationalTrust Forum Newsroom Chat – July 2010 • Broaden visibility and outreach • Broaden the definition of historic preservation • Rename our movement to something more encompassing? Mary Gates Hall, University of WashingtonSeattle Automobile Co. Showroom, Seattle, WA
    20. 20. NationalTrust Forum Newsroom Chat – July 2010 What are preservation’s core values? 1. Association with a significant person 2. Association with a significant designer or engineer 3. Association with a significant event in history 4. Association with a broad pattern of history 5. Excellent and rare example of a something 6. And, of course, archaeological value Mary Gates Hall, University of WashingtonSignal Station Pizza, St. John’s, Portland, OR
    21. 21. Donovan Rypkema @ Annual Preservation Conference, NTHP Forum Lunch, 2009: • Preservationists should reexamine the regulatory environment, philosophy, and education of the preservation field • Preservationists should allow buildings and cities to evolve over time • Preservationists should pay more attention to changing demographics Fox Garage, Seattle, WA
    22. 22. An argument for Historic Preservation: The past is “a form of coercion that is accepted without question….” The purpose of history is to explain the present-to say why the world around us is the way it is… …That is true power – profound power.” THE FUTURE LIES IN THE PAST.Mary Gates Hall, University of Washington
    23. 23. CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE! • Donovan Rypkema, Principal at PlaceEconomics, author of the book “The Economics of Historic Preservation.” • King Sturge Property Consultants. • Washington Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (DAHP): “The Economic Benefits of Historic Preservation in Washington State.” • National Trust Community Investment Corporation, a subsidiary of NTHP. economic-impact-model-2-0/ • National Trust for Historic Preservation, Forum Chatroom, “The Future of LEED,” Tuesday April 19, 2011. • National Trust for Historic Preservation, Forum Chatroom, “What’s Next for Preservation,” Wednesday July 14, 2010 • David Listokin at the Center for Urban Policy Research at Rutgers. • Michael Tomlan, Director & Professor, Graduate Programs in Historic Preservation Planning, Cornell University. • USGBC Blog. • USGBC Blog: • USGBC Blog: