Preservation, 'Green Building' Hit Historic Wall
Pfister, Bonnie, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Many old structures might be restored and preserved in accordance with federal historic standards. And new buildings can be constructed to adhere to increasingly popular "green building" norms.
But melding those principles is an increasingly intriguing concept for architects and preservationists, one that has been done in Pittsburgh but remains challenging because of conflicting and, in some cases, nonexistent criteria.
Some 80 preservationists and green builders came together Monday at the Sen. John Heinz Pittsburgh Regional History Center in the Strip District to begin developing guidelines for U.S. Department of Interior preservationists and the U.S. Green Building Council.
The event leads into the National Trust for Historic Preservation's annual conference today through Sunday.
"It's not easy to certify a historic building" as a green structure, said Cathy McCollom, program director at the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation, which with the South Side-based Green Building Alliance organized the summit. "But what's more green than using an existing structure? You don't fill a landfill by throwing away brick and wood."
Green building involves the construction -- or remodeling -- of a building that is energy-efficient and friendly to the surrounding environment and to the health of those who live and work inside.
The David L. Lawrence Convention Center and the PNC Firstside Center, both Downtown, are examples of new construction, while adapting those standards to historic renovation is a growing field of interest, organizers said. …