There has been an overwhelming response to the op-ed that came out in the New York Times this past weekend entitled “When Historic Preservation Hurts Cities”. Here at Preservation Connecticut, we wanted to also refute the information stated in the article, especially as it relates to our state.
Just last Friday, our staff attended “Historic and Green” A New Climate Agenda” at the UConn School of Law that focused on just the opposite of what Mr. Applebaum claimed. Historic preservation is inherently green and preservationists are very aware of the fact that buildings need to evolve in order to be sustainable into the future. Rehabbing a building that is already existing will always be more sustainable than tearing it down and building new.
Furthermore, concerning his main points about solar panels, here in Connecticut we have been accepting of clean energy installations. At the State Historic Preservation Office, there were 3,000 environmental review cases that involved solar panels last year. Only 10 of those were concluded to have adverse effects, but even those were negotiated and ultimately approved. Furthermore, we are one of the only states that require historic district commissions to consider solar panel installation applications for their districts. And, we are proud to say that we installed solar panels in 2016 on our headquarters, the only surviving Boarding House (1827) for Eli Whitney’s Armory, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places (see photo above).
Our board chair, Sara Bronin, also wrote an op-ed about this topic in October.
As always, if you have concerns about sustainability and your historic building, we are happy to help! You can contact us here.