Beyond Green

Historic preservation, in simplest terms, means taking care of our historic legacy and reusing the durable buildings and useful structures that link us to our past in a meaningful way.


Preservation's grand-scale impact, however, goes far beyond the important work of reusing existing buildings or making them more energy efficient.


Preservation is inherently about building a future for our communities that is environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable.


Historic preservation supports environmental sustainability. It is recycling on a grand scale.


Rehabilitating buildings reduces demolition waste and disposal pressure on landfills. It builds on resources that are already in place-our existing roads, sewer and water lines-and reduces automobile dependence through the rehabilitation and revitalization of historic neighborhoods-many with existing schools, parks, churches, and retail pockets.


Historic preservation respects open space and reduces sprawl. It is inherently about smart growth—growth that is environmentally sustainable.


Preservation supports economic sustainability. It encourages reinvestment in existing communities and local economic bases. It reclaims superior building stock and makes underused resources more productive. It encourages economic revitalization of downtowns, neighborhoods, and Main Streets.


Historic rehabilitation creates more local jobs per million dollars of investment than new construction because it is generally more labor and skill-intensive than new construction.


It creates new jobs as well as new businesses. And as it enhances local business and retail activity, it enhances the fiscal health of localities.


There is a healthy circular connection between preservation and prosperity. You can see it at work in communities that take advantage of Virginia's historic rehabilitation tax credits and in communities that adopt the Virginia Main Street approach. You can see it in the economic impact of Virginia's tourism—in the numbers of people who come to Virginia, year after year, to visit our historic places and treasured landscapes.


Preservation also supports social sustainability. It protects and celebrates the social and cultural resources that define and unite us as Virginians and Americans. It enhances our quality of life by preserving and restoring the fabric of community life.


It inspires people to revive historic areas and reclaim community legacy. It promotes heritage tourism and taps historic resources as educational resources.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation coined the term "Beyond Green."

Historic Craftsmanship / Future Riches

Read an on-line article titled, "A Place for Trades: Sensible Sustainability" to learn how traditional trades can provide a foundation for a greener future.

Preservation FACT:

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, only 10% of air leakage in homes is attributable to windows. In the average home, 14% of air escapes through fireplaces and upwards of 30% occurs through floors, walls and ceilings.