Wednesday, June 23, 2010

We are part of the climate change solution

This past weekend, the NH DHR participated in the2nd annual Local Energy Solutions Conference.  We heard emphasized over and over how local changes and local efforts were the key to making the grand sweeping changes that need to be made to help our country reduce its dependence on foreign energy, especially oil.

In New England, especially in New Hampshire, our solutions have always been local.  We may have more to offer than we think.  Our historic building stock dates, to a large part, to a period of time when energy was not cheap, when mechanical systems did not exist, and when thrift and common sense made the most out of every aspect of building.

Historic buildings in New Hampshire often feature cheap, sustainable, energy efficient features as a matter of course.  They tend to be oriented to maximize winter sun exposure, minimize summer sun exposure, and make the most of wind patterns.  They are built of sustainable natural materials -- brick, granite, and wood.  When many of the buildings in New England were built, every degree of heat was paid for with sweat -- chopping wood.  These are, admittedly, broad generalizations, but many of these buildings have served our families and communities for one or two centuries, with changes in use demonstrating their adaptability.

Historic preservation is part of the solution, and explaining this is part of our plan for the future of the field.  Broader partnerships need to be created so that we can not only explain how preservation serves larger goals of sustainability and community character, but also how the many "green" movements today can help to advance the cause of preservation.

1 comment:

Roger Stephenson said...

Clean Air-Cool Planet published "Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy and Historic Preservation". This is a guide for use by historic preservation groups, community organizations, municipal governments, preservation and building officials, individual property owners. You can download or contact CA-CP for a color hard copy.