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MAS and Landmarks Preservation Commission to Release Green Manual

historic building green renovation manual nyc

As part of our ongoing campaign on preservation and climate change, MAS is teaming up with the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) to produce a guide on how to improve the energy efficiency of small landmark buildings. The guide will provide straightforward action steps that property owners can take to improve the efficiency of historic buildings while preserving their historic character. From changing light bulbs to installing solar panels, the manual will provide guidance on reducing energy usage and saving money. New York City and State have a wealth of financial incentives and technical assistance for property owners, and through compiling all of these resources on one place, the guide will make it easier to take advantage of these programs.

Older buildings, built before cheap energy and the availability of mechanical systems, tend to incorporate many sustainable features that make them relatively efficient. Operable windows for natural ventilation, awnings to supply shade, and cisterns for collecting rainwater are all examples of old buildings practices that have resurfaced as new green building techniques. The guide will also include information on how these low-tech features can augment an energy retrofit.

One of the recommendations in the recently updated PlaNYC is the creation of such a manual. “Roughly 55 percent of New York’s building stock is more than 70 years old, and any serious efforts to build a more sustainable city must include solutions for making these older buildings more efficient” said MAS President Vin Cipolla. “With this guide, we will provide clear guidance to property owners and the preservation community on how historic buildings can be part of the solution to fighting climate change and making New York City more sustainable. This isn’t just good for the environment, it’s good for the bottom line too because it can lead to savings in energy costs.”

“As part of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s groundbreaking PlaNYC initiative, the Landmarks Preservation Commission formed a ‘Green Team’ two years ago to review agency policies and regulations to identify green strategies that have minimal impact on the historic fabric of the City’s landmarks,” said LPC Chairman Robert B. Tierney. “What we found confirmed what we knew, that there are many simple, inexpensive strategies for ‘greening’ historic buildings. By partnering with MAS, we hope to educate owners of landmarked structures on the ways in which they can make their buildings more energy efficient and help the City reduce its carbon footprint.”

The guide is funded by a challenge grant from The J.M. Kaplan Fund and with a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. MAS will be releasing an Request for Proposals this fall and the guide is expected to be released in 2012.