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The Greenest Building: Quantifying the Environmental Value of Building Reuse
Booklets, Fact Sheets, & Publications
Adaptive Reuse

Until now, little has been known about the climate change reductions that might be offered by reusing and retrofitting existing buildings. This groundbreaking study by the National Trust for Historic Preservation Research and Policy Lab concludes that building reuse almost always offers environmental savings over demolition and new construction. Moreover, it can take between 10 and 80 years for a new, energy-efficient building to overcome, through more efficient operations, the negative climate change impacts that were created during the construction process. However, care must be taken in the selection of construction materials in order to minimize environmental impacts; the benefits of reuse can be reduced or negated based on the type and quantity of materials selected for a reuse project.

 

This research provides the most comprehensive analysis to date of the potential environmental impact reductions associated with building reuse. Utilizing a Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) methodology, the study compares the relative environmental impacts of building reuse and renovation versus new construction over the course of a 75-year life span. LCA is an internationally recognized approach to evaluating the potential environmental and human health impacts associated with products and services throughout their respective life cycles.1 This study examines indicators within four environmental impact categories, including climate change, human health, ecosystem quality, and resource depletion. It tests six different building typologies, including a single-family home, multifamily building, commercial office, urban village mixed-use building, elementary school, and warehouse conversion. 

Download the full report here, or see the executive summary attached.  

The Greenest Building Report

Other Resources

2018-2019 Alliance Annual

In this 51 page booklet, we highlight Preservation Achievement Award winning projects, Boston pho

250 Years of Home Architecture in Boston

Take a virtual walk down history lane and explore great neighborhoods–including Beacon Hill, Dorc

Boston Groundwater Trust Video Series

In 2018, The Boston Groundwater Trust debuted a series of award winning informational videos abou

Longwood Medical and Academic Area (LMA) Historic Properties Survey—Final Report

The Boston Preservation Alliance received mitigation funds from Boston Children’s Hospital to upd

Boston Harborwalk—A Public Access Map of Boston’s Coastline

The Boston Harborwalk is a nearly 40-mile public waterfront walkway that winds through Boston’s w

Back Bay Houses

Boston’s Back Bay is a miracle of preservation.

Piano Row: Cycles of History

Piano Row: Cycles of History is an original film documentary about the evolution of Bost

Historic Ladder Blocks—An Endangered Resource in Downtown Boston

With no local protection or means of preventing demolition, the Ladder Blocks are at great risk o

Boston Modern: The Spirit of Reinvention

Boston Modern: The Spirit of Reinvention events and booklet are part of the Modern Module program

Boston's Changing Neighborhoods

On February 4, 2016 the Boston Preservation Alliance hosted an Urban Forum: “Boston’s Changi

Easements as a Tool for Preservation

Here in Boston there are a few ways we can protect a building or other historic resource.

City of Boston Archives The City Archives houses and manages historic City records and documents that are no longer in active use, including photographs, plans, deeds, maps and other documents. You’d be surprised by the wide range of historic materials that can inform your understanding of the history of Boston and its neighborhoods and buildings.
Neighborhood Preservation Workshops

The Boston Preservation Alliance’s Neighborhood Preservation Workshop was a pilot program that ra

Inspectional Services Department (ISD) The ISD enforces building and housing regulations. Permits applications for building, modifying, or demolishing a building are submitted to this department. Vacant and foreclosed properties are registered with the ISD, which includes documentation and photographs.
Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) The BPDA is Boston's planning and economic development agency. They work with other City departments and organizations on a wide range of planning and development initiatives. Development projects are subject to comment periods and public processes. The BPDA plays a far reaching role in shaping the City.
Boston Landmarks Commission (BLC) The Boston Landmarks Commission, along with the volunteer local Historic District Commissions, serve as the City’s steward of Boston’s historic buildings, places, and neighborhoods. The BLC and the Commissions are part of the city’s Environment Department, provide information and assistance concerning the regulatory process, historic preservation planning, archaeology, sources for historical information, and technical assistance.
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