How LEED Gives the Cold Shoulder to Historic Preservation

In a guest editorial for <em>Rust Wire</em>, Nick Gurich examines the ways in which LEED discounts the environmental benefits of historic preservation and adaptive reuse
February 26, 2012, 9am PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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According to Gurich, preservationists have engaged with the U.S. Green Building Council in the past to find a better way to acknowledge and encourage the environmental benefits that accompany historic preservation and adaptive reuse in their LEED rating system, with no substantive outcome.

"The problem with LEED, from the perspective of a preservationist, is that it gives little credit for the embodied energy contained in an historic building (or any building for that matter). This energy, which is not only representative of the building materials in a structure but also the work that went into constructing those materials into their current state, is not as easy to measure as say the R-value of a replacement window and therefore have not figured heavily into LEED's equation," writes Gurich.

Citing the widespread acceptance and marketing advantage of LEED certification, Gurich believes that, "Providing developers of historic projects with an easier path to LEED certification would certainly make the reuse of an existing building more financially attractive....[and] will lead to increased preservation and reuse of historic buildings."

With the next iteration of LEED set to be voted on by membership in June, Gurich suggests the avenues to advocate such changes.

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Published on Thursday, February 23, 2012 in Rust Wire
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