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May is Historic Preservation Month - How Green is that?

While tearing down an old building and rebuilding may seem easier, it is often the worst option. Remodeling and repurposing existing buildings can be financially better and nearly always greener.

This week's blog was provided by Eileen Franz, the County's Historic Preservationist.

May is National Historic Preservation month and the perfect time of year to remind people that Historic Preservation is an effective tool for sustainable development. It is said, that the greenest building is a building that is already built!  The Preservation Green Lab of the National Trust for Historic Preservation recently completed a study entitled “The Greenest Building: Quantifying the Environmental Value of Building Reuse.”   According to the findings, “the reuse of a building offers environmental savings over demolition and reconstruction in almost all cases.”   The study compared the renovation of six different building types, while conducting a life cycle assessment of the structures.  You can learn more about the study by going to the following link http://www.preservationnation.org/information-center/sustainable-communities/sustainability/green-lab/valuing-building-reuse.html.

Sustainable restoration of historic properties may take a bit more research in the pre-construction phase, but there are options available to assure that new systems will not compromise the historic integrity of a historic property. Typically, landmark ordinances only require the outside of the property to maintain the original look.  Optimizing existing features of a building and looking at new strategies for materials are key elements when incorporating green features in an existing structure.  For more ideas and details, check out the National Park Service's website http://www.nps.gov/tps/sustainability/new-technology.htm.

Additional information on the Will County local landmark register and can also be found at the Will County Land Use website at http://willcountylanduse.com/historic-preservation/greenest-building-one-already-built

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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