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
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.
- Upon completion, participant will redefine perceptions that have prevailed regarding the relationship between energy codes and historic buildings.
- Upon completion, participant will identify what types of educational changes can be implemented to better address energy efficiency in historic buildings.
- Upon completion, participant will be able to define what opportunities exist to refine regulations to better accommodate and recognize energy efficiency upgrades.
- Upon completion, participant will outline how the diverse grouping of historic buildings can better be accommodated through code language to mandate energy efficiency upgrades.