The recent past in a green future : the effects of environmental sustainability on preservation of the recent past
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Type of Work160 p.
ProgramMA in Historic Preservation
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SubjectsOffice buildings -- Conservation and restoration.
Historic preservation -- Theses
In the past few years, environmental sustainability and green building have become some of the most discussed issues in historic preservation. However, a literature review reveals that for the most part, preservationists have not addressed how historic buildings of the recent past can fit into the realm of environmentally sustainable design and building. This thesis examines the effects of environmental sustainability on the preservation of historic mid-twentieth century office buildings. This thesis finds that the materials and design of mid-twentieth century office buildings make them fundamentally unique from buildings of previous eras in terms of environmental and energy performance. Before undertaking energy efficiency or environmentally sustainable projects that could affect the historic significance of a building, this thesis proposes a methodology that can be easily used by preservationists to assess 1) how much energy is being lost through the building envelope and 2) some of the internal energy loads within the building such as lighting, heating and cooling systems, and office equipment. If, after this assessment, exterior changes to a historic mid twentieth century office building are still necessary to meet desired energy and environmental performance goals, preservationists will have to be flexible when interpreting the Secretary of Interior's Standards for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings. Instead of focusing almost solely on original material retention, preservation approaches such as original design intent, value-centered preservation, and the modernist philosophy of newness should be considered to effectively integrate environmental sustainability into historic mid-twentieth century office buildings.