Preservation and Climate Change

historic building preservation and climate change adaptation in new york cityMAS has been exploring how preservation can be integrated into New York City’s climate change, green building and sustainability agendas. MAS launched the Preservation and Climate Change campaign to promote the positive environmental benefits of improving the efficiency of New York City’s older and historic buildings. The city’s sustainability agenda, PlaNYC, prioritizes improving the performance of New York City’s building stock, which is responsible for approximately 75% of New York City’s greenhouse gas emissions. Given that the majority of the city’s building stock was constructed before 1940, MAS initiated this campaign to promote the vast opportunity for energy savings presented by New York City’s old and historic buildings and to help mitigate the effects of climate change.In the winter of 2009, MAS hosted a series of roundtable discussions with an interdisciplinary group of experts in order to find common ground between the goals of historic preservation, urban sustainability, green building and climate change policies. The roundtables were followed in October 2010, by our Conference on Preservation and Climate Change in New York City co-hosted by Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation.

With the generous support of the J.M. Kaplan Fund, the New York Community Trust, the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Elizabeth and Robert Jeffe Preservation Fund, MAS is in the midst of a demonstration project to show how to make the Henry Street Settlement’s headquarters located on Manhattan’s Lower East side more energy efficient. The project will be featured in a manual providing steps building owners can take to make their buildings more energy efficient. See our Henry Street Demonstration project and Green Manual webpages to learn more about these important projects.



Ronda Wist
Vice President, Preservation & Government Relations

Henry Street Demonstration ProjectIn order to demonstrate how to improve the performance of a historic building, MAS will work with the Henry Street Settlement to sensitively improve its headquarters at 263, 265, 267 Henry Street, in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Funded through a challenge grant from the J.M. Kaplan Fund, the project’s goal is to show policymakers and the general public how to make efficiency gains and lower operating costs without compromising architectural character or impacting durability. MAS will also be working with the LPC on a manual explaining how to make efficiency improvements to designated buildings. The manual will provide building owners accessible, actionable and preservation-friendly means to reduce energy usage.