Track 1: Decline vs. Revival: Tempering the Impulse to Tear Down and Start Over

APT Student Scholar Abstract

1 - Evaluating the Effect of Local Historic Preservation and Climate Change Action Policy on the Promotion of Operating Energy Efficiency in Historic Buildings

Monday, September 24
2:45 PM - 4:15 PM
Location: BNCC- 101AH
Faculty Advisor: Kim Yao, AIA – Columbia University

Historic buildings offer the opportunity to contribute to climate change mitigation efforts, however current regulatory processes are inhibiting the potential to allow historic buildings to contribute to their fullest extent. Throughout the United States historic buildings, as defined by various building codes, are exempt from complying with energy efficiency code requirements and as a result practitioners approach energy efficiency improvements inconsistently while working through confusing and time consuming procedures for permit approval. Meanwhile, more stringent energy efficiency regulations are becoming an integral part of local policy targeted to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The preservation field has largely focused on embodied energy within old buildings as an argument for their environmentally sustainability, while operating energy is largely overlooked and accounts for up to 80% of a building’s energy consumption over its lifetime and has been identified as a key quantifiable target necessary for substantially reducing greenhouse gas emissions within the built environment. The discrepancy between the need for existing buildings to reduce energy consumption and the lack of focus of historic preservation regulatory procedures on energy creates a missed opportunity for capturing historic building operational energy efficiency benefits through regulation refinement. The energy code blanket exemption creates an environment of voluntary project level decision-making that largely relies on predictable regulatory procedural approval solutions, without taking into account wider goals for drastically reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This thesis will address the issues historic buildings face with regards to energy efficiency interventions. It will analyze regulations that inhibit the promotion of operating energy in historic buildings through examination of how building professionals navigate through regulatory processes and how both historic preservation policy and energy policy can work together to better craft the role for historic buildings to play in mitigating the effects of climate change.

Learning Objectives:

Ethan J. Boote

Columbia University

I am a recent graduate from Columbia University's Historic Preservation program and currently live in Minneapolis, MN. In my studies, I explored a number of different avenues for how preservation can play a role in supporting positive long-term outcomes in urban environments, improving social-spatial relationships communities have with their valued places, and addressing climate change. In May 2018 I was awarded the Onera Prize, a prize given to a project proposed by myself and a fellow Historic Preservation student that tests new theories of preservation in practice. The project involves creating a web platform for historical narratives and public engagement centered around the planning and construction of urban renewal highways in Poughkeepsie, NY.


Send Email for Ethan Boote

David Bittermann

National Park Service

David Bittermann, AIA
Chief, Design and Preservation Planning
NPS Northeast Region - Historic Architecture, Conservation, and Engineering

David Bittermann, AIA, has served 34 years with the National Park Service, where he is currently Chief of Design and Preservation Planning for the Historic Architecture, Conservation, and Engineering Center (HACE) in the Northeast Regional Office. The center provides a variety of cultural resources services with its staff of Historical and Landscape Architects, Engineers, Architectural and Object Conservators, and Historians to 83 client National Parks in the Northeast Region, ranging geographically from Maine to Virginia. David is a former Board Member of APTNE, and for several years taught Architectural Conservation at Boston University. He received an M. Architecture degree from the University of Illinois and an MA from Boston University.


Send Email for David Bittermann


1 - Evaluating the Effect of Local Historic Preservation and Climate Change Action Policy on the Promotion of Operating Energy Efficiency in Historic Buildings

Attendees who have favorited this

Please enter your access key

The asset you are trying to access is locked. Please enter your access key to unlock.

Send Email for Evaluating the Effect of Local Historic Preservation and Climate Change Action Policy on the Promotion of Operating Energy Efficiency in Historic Buildings