Sustainability, Energy Efficiency, Resilience & Historic Buildings

Historic properties can be made more sustainable, energy-efficient, and resilient, improving their performance and use while also preserving their historic character. Doing so not only improves their efficiency and livability but helps to ensure their long-term preservation. The NPS has been providing guidance and technical preservation information on these issues in relation to the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties for decades since producing one of its first Preservation Briefs on the subject of energy efficiency in 1978. Current NPS guidance and information are collected and presented below for easy access to further explore these topics.

Sustainability and Energy Efficiency

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Guidelines on Sustainability

Guidelines on Sustainability for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings

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Preservation Brief 3

Improving Energy Efficiency in Historic Buildings

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Preservation Brief 24

Heating, Ventilating, and Cooling Historic Buildings (revised Preservation Brief in progress)

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Preservation Brief 16

(NEW) See "When to Consider Using Substitute Materials in Preservation Projects" (page 4) regarding enhanced resilience and sustainability

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Learn how historic preservation is inherently a sustainable practice

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Treatment of Historic Properties

See "Sustainability" (page 25) and sections on storm windows and heating, ventilating, and air conditioning

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Weatherizing Historic Buildings

Improve the energy efficiency of a building and preserve its historic character

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Solar Panels on Historic Buildings

Install solar panels in a manner that preserves the historic character of a building and its site

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ITS Bulletin Number 52

Incorporating Solar Panels in a Rehabilitation Project

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Green Roofs on Historic Buildings

Flat or low-slope roofs provide opportunities to install green roofs

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ITS Bulletin Number 54

Installing Green Roofs on Historic Buildings

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Treatment of Cultural Landscapes

Guidelines for the Treatment of Cultural Landscapes

Case Studies

Additional case studies will be added as TPS launches a new weekly feature that will highlight rehabilitation projects illustrating sustainability, resilience, and other topics.

Other Guidance and Information


Other Topics


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Resilience to Natural Hazards

(NEW) Resilience to Natural Hazards and Historic Buildings

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Treatment Guidelines

(NEW) See "Resilience to Natural Hazards" in overview and in each treatment section

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Flood Adaptation

Information on flood adaptation for historic buildings

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Guidelines for Flood Adaption

Guidelines on Flood Adaptation for Historic Buildings

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Preservation Brief 41

The Seismic Rehabilitation of Historic Buildings

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Preservation Brief 16

(NEW) See "When to Consider Using Substitute Materials in Preservation Projects" (page 4) regarding enhanced resilience and sustainability

The National Park Service Responds to Climate Change

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NPS Climate Change Website

Learn how the NPS addresses the climate change challenges

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A Vision and Broad Approach

Cultural Resources Climate Change Strategy

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Impacts on Cultural Resources

Climate Change Related Impacts on Cultural Resources

Last updated: April 13, 2024