Preservation & Sustainability

The ‘greenest building’ argument has dominated conversations around sustainability and historic preservation for decades, recognizing that existing buildings are inherently ‘greener’ when compared to demolition and new construction. But in recent years, sustainability has come to mean more than simply being environmentally responsible. Older buildings and blocks are a key component to creating successful cities and neighborhoods – historic fabric creates economically vital, socially equitable, and strong, resilient neighborhoods.

Preservation Green Lab

Learn more about the Preservation Green Lab and the work of the National Trust on the issue of Sustainability. 



The National Trust’s work in cities to make adaptive reuse the default development option is called ReUrbanism.


Climate Change

Mitigation tools and models to help preservationists protect historic places from the threats of climate change and resilience.


Green Building

Preservation as an exercise in sustainability began with the architect Carl Elefante stating that “the Greenest Building is the one that already exists.” In the years since, the body of work related to the environmental sustainability of older and historic buildings has continued to build. Here are a few titles related to Green Building.

The Greenest Building Report

Saving Windows, Saving Money

Realizing the Energy Efficiency Potential of Small Buildings

America's Eroding Edges

To connect the shared experiences of Americans facing the dramatic transformations of climate change, the National Trust has partnered with Victoria Herrmann, a National Geographic Explorer, as she travels around the U.S. and its territories interviewing communities directly affected by shoreline erosion and climate change.

America's Eroding Edges Home

More on Preservation Leadership Forum

US/ICOMOS: Heritage as a Pillar of Sustainable Development

A virtual group of heritage practitioners sharing international knowledge on Heritage and Sustainable Development. This is a joint project of US/ICOMOS, the US members of the ICOMOS International committee on Economics of Conservation (ISEC) and the firm Heritage Strategies International.


preservationCRISIS: John Englander