Monday, October 27, 2008

Preservation and Climate Change - A View from "Across the Pond"

Last week the National Trust for Historic Preservation held its annual conference in Tulsa. I wasn't able to make the trip to Oklahoma but have been following along via the National Trust's blog, where Trust staffers have been describing the sessions, their impressions of Tulsa, and more. A post describing a session on climate change and historic preservation, featuring speakers from the United Kingdom, caught my eye. From the description posted by Barbara Campagna, it sounds like it was quite a far-reaching session, containing information on current and projected impacts of climate change on specific historic properties, discussion of how to truly measure values related to sustainability, and explanations of steps that British preservation organizations are taking to both adapt to climate-induced changes and to reduce the energy needs of historic buildings. Here's a particularly chilling passage from Barbara's description:

Decades of neglect and little investment leads to slum clearance and wholesale redevelopment, while whole life costing tied to embodied carbon modeling has been using carbon calculations (15-20 years) assigned by bankers and investors that are likely less than the true value of our material culture. In terms of ecological sustainability, models suggest that melting ice caps will cause a breach of the Thames and catastrophic flooding of London.
At the end of the post are some interesting links to British organizations that are pursuing this type of holistic view of climate change as it pertains to historic buildings - great stuff.

Posted by Katie Eggers Comeau, Advocacy Coordinator