The Greenest Building is the One that is Already Built

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Real Estate Agent with Smart Green Realty

I just got back from United States Green Building Council (USGBC) GreenBuild Expo 2008 in Boston...an amazing experience! Next Nov. it will be in Phoenix, so mark your calendars. The 5-day conference is for architects and builders but they had a special, one day program for people interested in residential building and remodeling. That is where I picked up the Green edition (Jan 2008) of Preservation Magazine, the magazine of The National Trust of Historic Preservation (www.nationaltrust.org/preservation).

The National Trust believes the environmental benefits of rehab and preservation should play a prominent role in the debate over global warming and energy conservation because The Greenest Building is the One that is Already Built. Richard Moe, President of the National Trust, told writer Dwight Young that preservation is a sustainable activity because it is all about recycling resources. Tearing down buildings wastes the heavy prior investment of resources and energy that it took to build them, Moe said. If you keep the building in use, you are saving energy and conserving resources, he said.

Preservation is the Ultimate Recycling! Here in Philadelphia, I sell mostly 50 to 100 year old buildings in great walking neighborhoods with beautiful parks and access to public transportation. In Chestnut Hill and Mt. Airy, commuters can often walk to two nearby light rail stops at gorgeous old Victorian stations. Moe says there is a large and growing number of rehab and reuse projects that are good models of sustainable design and contruction and products to make the older buildings more energy efficient. The National Trust is working to develop laws and policies that encourage reinvestment in existing buildings and communities, Moe said. The Trust would like to see:

1. Expansion of the historic rehab tax credit.

2. Incentives for private homeowners to employ green technology in maintaining and rehabilitating their homes. ME TOO! 

Moe says the National Trust website (www.nationaltrust.org/preservation) is the "go-to" resource for advice and information on employing green technology in the rehab of older structures. Let's use it and recommend it to our clients!

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