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Publications > Preservation & Sustainability

Ossipee Mountain Grange

The Ossipee Mountain Grange, now home to Global Action, Local Awareness (G.A.L.A.) serves a new version of its old function as a community gathering space in a rural community.

How is preservation sustainable? How does it save energy?

First, sustainability is about more than energy. Sustainability is about creating a community (and eventually a world) that works, where people live in worthwhile places, in communities that they can connect with, where good jobs and good buildings create places that the next generation can also use. Preservation is about sense of place, but it is also about reusing and recycling buildings and spaces in new, vibrant ways and keeping our communities vital. Reusing buildings saves energy, reduces waste and preserves people's connections to place, which keeps a community's history in a living form. Many historic buildings, having served a purpose for 50 or 100 or 200 years, can be updated, made energy efficient, and made useful for many more years.


Being Green & Historic?
It’s Easy!


1. Know your building. This means knowing its history and character-defining features, and understanding how your building uses energy.

2. Buildings operate as systems; when you change one thing, you alter the system. Careful planning will help you reach your energy objectives, while balancing preservation and efficiency.

3. Repair rather than replace, and if replacement is necessary, replace in kind. When choosing materials, consider how and where they were produced, how they can be maintained and repaired, and how long they will last.

4. Consider the long term. Your historic building has embodied energy, and careful rehabilitation can avoid additional climate impacts. Consider the next 100 years when choosing materials and making changes.

5. Know your resources! We've compiled some links below to get you started.

The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation & Illustrated Guidelines for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings

How do you learn about your building? Complete an Individual Inventory Form, which requires research about the history as well as careful description of the building. This can be a good basis for planning.

The New Hampshire Office of Strategic Initiatives How To Winterize Your Home gives some basic information on weatherization, all of which are appropriate for historic homes.

The National Park Service Technical Brief #3, Improving Energy Efficiency in Historic Buildings has been recently updated to reflect current best practices.

The National Trust’s Preservation Green Lab studies the intersection between sustainability and preservation, looking for solutions to common issues in making historic buildings work for today, particularly in energy efficiency. The lab studies both policy solutions and practical solutions.

The New Hampshire Preservation Alliance has recorded webinars to view: https://nhpreservation.org/webinars

Check out the embodied energy calculators at the May T. Watts Foundation for helpful information on why preserving can be more sustainable than building new.

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