Historic Structures and Sustainability

Thirty percent of the NPS building portfolio is historic and many of those buildings and structures are considered to be premier historic buildings. Our bureau’s special connection with historic facilities implies an obligation to assist in the development of sustainable standards for historic buildings. At present the NPS is working on the following to promote sustainability in historic structures:

  • NPS Park Facility Management Division and the Cultural Resource Division are working together to identify a broad sample, approximately 20 typical NPS historic structures, and hold a charette that will provide recommendations for sustainable treatments for those typical examples. The structures and their treatments shall be selected to represent as many of the challenges faced by the NPS regarding historic renovations affecting sustainability
  • Developing guidance on best practices that will guide the NPS in making sustainable changes to historic buildings
  • Collaborating with the Cultural Resource Division to create and support recommendations for historic buildings and develop a set of "Guiding Principles" for incorporating sustainability in historic buildings
  • Creation of a Historic Building Sustainability Checklist, similar to the checklist associated with the SBIP for major renovations of historic building and work with green building certification programs to incorporate these Guiding Principles in certification processes
  • Developing an Operations and Maintenance Checklist for historic buildings
  • Collaborating with the Cultural Resources staff to identify, protect, and preserve the historic assets most at risk to climate change

Historic Green Building Highlight—Ramirez Solar House

Ramirez Solar House. Source: AIArchitectSource: AIArchitect

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is in the process of renovating the historic Ramirez Solar House which was built in 1910 and first renovated in 1943-1944 to be a thoroughly-modern, sustainable home. When the current restoration is complete, the park staff plan to conduct tours of the building to highlight its importance as an historic sustainable structure and the straightforward ways that energy efficiency measures can be incorporated into architectural design.

Click here for more information on the house