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Thinking of Greening your Historic Rowhouse?

preservation rowhouse green manual report

MAS and the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission have partnered to produce a free digital guide to help home owners improve the energy efficiency of historic (pre-1940) rowhouses without compromising their distinctive architectural features.

The Greening New York City’s Historic Buildings: Green Rowhouse Manual, is the first of its kind in New York City. The manual is organized into eleven sections to help building owners identify opportunities for “greening projects.” Among the suggested low- and moderate-cost energy efficiency improvements are weatherization, utilizing more efficient forms of lighting and controls, and installing basement and roof insulation.  More intensive measures suggested in the guide include installing green roofs and rooftop solar panels.

This guide will also help fulfill one of the key initiatives of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s PlaNYC 2030: reducing the carbon footprint of buildings, which account for 75% percent of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions. Today over half of the city’s building stock was constructed before 1940, so increasing the energy efficiency of the city’s older buildings is the fastest, most cost-effective way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“This manual identifies energy-saving solutions that are consistent not only with the Landmarks Commission’s regulations but also with best preservation practices.  The guide will go a long way towards building a more sustainable city,” said MAS President Vin Cipolla.

The manual is part of MAS’s ongoing Preservation and Climate Change Campaign, which focuses on integrating preservation into New York City’s climate change, green building and sustainability agendas.

“Many of the suggestions in this important manual make it clear that landmark protection is by no means a barrier to making a building more energy efficient,” said Landmarks Preservation Commission Chairman Robert B. Tierney.

The Green Rowhouse Manual is available for download here.

MAS commissioned Cook + Fox Architects, and Terrapin Bright Green, the environmental consulting firm to research and write the manuals, which were made possible with funding from the New York Community Trust, the J.M. Kaplan Fund, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Elizabeth and Robert Jeffe Preservation Fund and the Witkoff Group.