Skip to main content
The Official Web Site of the State of South Carolina


Historic Preservation = Sustainability

Older and historic buildings comprise more than half of the existing buildings in the United States. Retention and adaptive reuse of these buildings preserves the materials, embodied energy, and human capital already expended in their construction. The reuse of historic buildings is one of the most beneficial “green” practices, and stresses the importance and value of historic preservation in the overall promotion of sustainability. 

The State Historic Preservation Office believes energy and resource conservation in historic buildings can be accomplished responsibly without compromising the qualities that define their intrinsic historic character. 

National Park Service - Sustainability includes many informative resources on energy efficiency and new technologies as well as case studies and research.  

National Park Service - Weatherizing and Improving the Energy Efficiency of Historic Buildings

National Park Service - Illustrated Guidelines on Sustainability for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings (PDF, 2.1 MB) 

National Park Service - Preservation Brief 3 - Improving Energy Efficiency in Historic Buildings

Advisory Council on Historic Preservation - Sustainability and Historic Preservation Links

National Alliance of Preservation Commissions - The Alliance Review: Weatherization, What Every Commissioner Should Know (PDF) 

National Trust for Historic Preservation - Sustainability 
Provides additional links on creating sustainable communities, the Trust's Preservation Green Lab, as well as Green Home Tips. The Trust's 2011 report The Greenest Building: Quantifying the Environmental Value of Building Reuse provides comprehensive analysis of the potential environmental benefit of building reuse. See also the Trust's 2012 report Saving Windows, Saving Money: Evaluating the Energy Performance of Window Retrofit and Replacement 

Whole Building Design Guide – Sustainable Historic Preservation 
Provides extensive information and links on a wide range of preservation, sustainability, and building-related guidance, criteria, and technology

"What Replacement Windows Can't Replace: The Real Cost of Removing Historic Windows" (PDF)
Walter Sedovic & Jill H. Gotthelf, APT Bulletin: The Journal of Preservation Technology, Volume 36, April 2005

Sustainability and Historic Preservation: Lessons Learned (PPT-PDF)
National Park Service, Technical Preservation Services 

SC Resources

Charleston Green Plan
See the Appendix for recommendations regarding Historic Structures and Sustainability

The Sustainability Institute SC and the Historic Charleston Foundation have produced the following 2 PDF publications:
Case Study: Energy Efficiency in Historic Residences 
Brochure: How to Make Your Historic House More Energy Efficient

Preservation Society of Charleston's Green Preservation Charleston

Old is the New Green:
SC Preservation Month 2010 Presentations

SC Energy Office