Making preservation more energy efficient

February 9, 2009
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While commissioners were approving brownfields for the Kendall and Flat Iron historic renovations last week, Second Ward City Commissioner David LaGrand took a “left turn” by suggesting that historic preservationists and environmentalists need to talk with each other because some of the preservation standards that developers have to follow aren’t always as energy efficient as these guidelines could be. 

Using the Flat Iron project as his example, LaGrand pointed out that one standard won’t let Locus Development replace the three buildings’ double-hung windows with casement windows, even if the casements were made to look like double-hung windows. He also said a casement is a more energy-efficient window than a double-hung. Casement windows open vertically, most often with a crank, and are popular in Europe.

LaGrand said historical preservationists need to “aggressively” incorporate environmental guidelines into the process so renovations can be as energy efficient as possible. First Ward Commissioner Walt Gutowski, who has restored buildings, agreed with LaGrand.

Mayor George Heartwell noted that most preservation rules come from federal and state governments, but he added that changes made to regulations often begin at the local level. Heartwell said members of the city’s Historic Preservation Commission should be invited to the commission’s next briefing session to discuss how these standards could be made more energy efficient.

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