Category Archives: sustainability

Call for historic green buildings to be featured in new book

[Source: Scott Butcher] — Author Scott Butcher is seeking project submissions for a new book he is writing for Schiffer Publishing. The new book, “Sustainable Historic Buildings” will focus on “green” historic buildings. By their very nature, historic buildings incorporate many of the same features that green designers use today: sustainable sites, natural landscaping, energy efficiency, local materials, etc. While the green building movement has exploded in recent years, only now are owners, designers and contractors turning their attention to the “greenest” buildings of all: ones that already exist. 

As part of the project, Butcher is looking for case studies from across the United States – renovation, expansion, and/or adaptive reuse projects performed on buildings at least 50 years of age. These buildings must be completed, but need not be certified (e.g., LEED, Green Globe, etc.), though certified projects are certainly acceptable and encouraged. All types of buildings will be considered. Click here for additional information and submission guidelines. Submissions are due by December 15, 2008.

Advancing Sustainability Conference in Phoenix, September 5-6

[Source: Green Summit] — The Advancing Sustainability Conference is the prime educational component of the GreenSummit. This conference covers a variety of topics relating to how the concept of “going green” impacts our region’s various industries, the communities we live in, and the natural environment around us. Industry experts, Arizona State University, and our Summit Alliance partners help provide guidance and support to maximize the learning opportunities of this unique and powerful event.

Educational content caters to both business professionals and the general public. The Advancing Sustainability Conference has something for everyone attending GreenSummit. Most of the general level sessions within each conference track are free for all attendees. Beyond the introductory level session, the track becomes more oriented towards professionals wishing to have a deeper understanding of the content. For more information and to register for the conference, click here.

Sept. 9 course in Phoenix: "Green strategies for historic buildings"

[Source: Carol Griffith, Arizona State Parks] — The destruction of an existing building and the procurement and transport of materials to build a new building is less energy efficient (uses more energy and resources) than making an existing building more energy efficient. The State Historic Preservation Office is partnering with the National Preservation Institute to have a course taught in Phoenix on “Green Strategies for Historic Buildings,” September 9, 2008. AIA credits will apply. For more information, click here.

City of Phoenix increases number of sustainability programs

The city of Phoenix has updated its Sustainability Summary increasing the total number of sustainability programs from 70 to more than 80. The summary provides brief descriptions of all of the city of Phoenix’s environmental stewardship efforts, some of which have been in place for decades. “To be successful, Phoenix must be an environmental leader. This summary showcases Phoenix’s numerous environmental programs,” said Councilman Greg Stanton, chair of the Parks, Education, Bioscience, and Sustainability Subcommittee. “The depth and variety of programs demonstrates that Phoenix is an environmental leader, both in the Valley and throughout the nation.”

The updated summary includes recent information on the city’s Climate Action efforts and participation in Earth Hour, in addition to new information about Phoenix Recycles, Bag Central Station, the Convention Center solar project and the city’s recently adopted renewable energy goal, the Brownfields Environmental Technician Job Training Program, and Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Program. Enhancements have been reported in the areas of environmental leadership, land use policies, transportation, air quality, water conservation, heat island, energy conservation, green building, pollution prevention, HISTORIC PRESERVATION, and riparian area conservation. To view the complete summary online, click here. To view the specific page on HISTORIC PRESERVATION, click here.

Save the buildings, save the world

[Source: Richard Moe, New America Media] — Historic preservation has always been the greenest of the building arts because it necessarily involves the conservation of energy and natural resources. Now it’s time to make sure everyone knows it. It’s all about sustainability. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), transportation accounts for just 27 percent of America’s greenhouse gas emissions, while 48 percent – almost twice as much – is produced by the construction and operation of buildings. Nearly half the greenhouse gases Americans send into the atmosphere is from our buildings. More than 10 percent of the entire world’s greenhouse gas emissions is from American buildings. Historic preservation must be a key component of any effort to promote sustainable development. The challenge is to help people understand that preservation is environmentally, as well as economically, sustainable.

Buildings are embodied energy

The retention and reuse of older buildings is an effective tool for the responsible, sustainable stewardship of our environmental resources. Buildings are vast repositories of energy. It takes energy to manufacture or extract building materials, more energy to transport them to a construction site, still more energy to assemble them into a building. If the structure is demolished and land-filled, the energy locked up in it is wasted.

  • According to the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, about 80 billion British Thermal Units (BTUs) of energy are embodied in a typical 50,000-square-foot commercial building, the equivalent of 640,000 gallons of gasoline. If you tear the building down, all of that embodied energy is wasted.
  • Constructing a 50,000-square-foot commercial building releases about the same amount of carbon into the atmosphere as driving a car 2.8 million miles. Demolishing it creates nearly 4,000 tons of waste.
  • Since 70 percent of the energy consumed over a building’s lifetime is used in operating the building, some people argue that the energy used in demolishing an older building and replacing it is quickly recovered through the increased energy efficiency of the new building – but that’s simply not true. Recent research indicates that even if 40 percent of the materials are recycled, it takes approximately 65 years for a green, energy-efficient new office building to recover the energy lost in demolishing an existing building.

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: Michael Lundgren. Phoenix Towers, Phoenix.]

Mark your calendar for May 6 to hear Donovan Rypkema

Donovan Rypkema, Principal of Place Economics and well-known speaker on historic preservation issues, will address “The Role of Historic Preservation in Sustainable Development” at a National Historic Preservation Month event on May 6, 2008 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa in Phoenix. All advocates for preservation and sustainability are encouraged to attend. To RSVP, contact Kay Jerin (click on name for e-mail or call 602-340-0745) with your name, organization, and day phone. Cost is $50 per person.

This event is sponsored by the Capitol Mall Association in Phoenix with support from the Arizona Preservation Foundation, Arizona State Historic Preservation Office, Arizona Department of Commerce Main Street Program, and City of Phoenix Historic Preservation Office.

Ancient land in northeast Arizona provides modern-day example of sustainable tourism

[Source: Travel Video Television News] — Several of the tenets of sustainable tourism – reuse, restore and preserve – are clearly exemplified in Canyon de Chelly National Monument, an ancient land in northeastern Arizona. The nearly 84,000 acres that comprise Canyon de Chelly are located on the Navajo Reservation and jointly operated by the Navajo Nation and the National Park Service. Here, an entire culture is being preserved, and visitors are encouraged to visit the land lightly. Examples include a century-old building still being used; vehicles built more than 50 years ago still provide motorized tours, but are now powered by clean-burning propane; and the majority of wares in a gift shop are produced locally by highly skilled artisans. “Our own brand of sustainable tourism is a devotion to preserving the environment by focusing on the integrity of our local culture as well as minimizing the adverse effects of tourism on the natural environment,” said Mary Jones, owner and operator of the Thunderbird Lodge, the only concessioner in the monument. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Green means preserving, not destroying

[Source: National Trust for Historic Preservation] — With “green building” all the rage, Americans are beginning to realize what preservationists have long known: contrary to much of the hype around sustainable design and construction, the “greenest” building is often one that has already been built. When he was honored with the National Building Museum’s prestigious 2007 Vincent Scully Prize last month, National Trust President Richard Moe used the opportunity to hammer home that point, using his address to make the case for historic preservation’s “essential role” in fighting climate change. “We can’t build our way out of our environmental problems. We have to conserve our way out. That means we have to make better, wiser use of what we’ve already built.” His speech included statistics that illustrated the breadth of this issue and new sustainability initiatives for the National Trust.

Expanding on Mr. Moe’s speech, the January/February 2008 edition of the National Trust’s Preservation magazine is titled “The Green Issue.” Covering many timely topics such as the cost of overlooking old buildings in favor of new ones, tips for an environmentally friendly home, and a look at sustainable architecture at work in Chicago, the issue is available in print and online. APF encourages you to share this with your friends and associates to expand your knowledge of the benefits of preserving and reusing existing buildings, and its impact on Arizona communities.

ASU in downtown Phoenix initiates Urban & Metropolitan Studies program

Click on the graphic to enlarge the text. Now recruiting for Spring and Fall 2008. Details at

Tempe’s Eisendrath House to serve as center for sustainability

The City of Tempe is partnering with several private, non-profit entities to begin full rehabilitation of the historic Eisendrath House property (rendering at left by Mark Vinson). Motley Design Group, headed by architect Bob Graham, is nearly complete with a rehab report and recommendations. It is believed that funding for at least the initial stabilization of the structure is secured, and advocates are optimistic that once “the ball rolls” this spring, funding will continue and the full rehab, according to the U.S. Secretary of the Interior’s Standards, will occur.

The goal is to rehab and then occupy the house as the “Carl Hayden Center for Sustainability at the Eisendrath House.” Exhibits on water conservation and other forms of sustainable design and construction may be installed, along with interpretive exhibits on the house and the Eisendrath family. Some office, conference, and meeting space, as well as other support functions, would also be provided. The City would be the prime tenant, but the possibility exists that other groups could office and/or meet there.

For more information, contact Mark Vinson, AIA/AICP/NCARB, City of Tempe Architect, at 480-350- 8367.