HISTORIC PRESERVATION LARGELY ABSENT FROM FEDERAL GOV'T SUSTAINABILITY ORDER
Oct 07, 2009
On October 5, President Obama issued an Executive Order that defines the federal government's role in sustainability. http://www.whitehouse.gov/assets/documents/2009fedleader_eo_rel.pdf. The 15 page document clearly establishes the federal government as taking a lead in implementing sustainable practices that will help to reduce the nation's overall carbon footprint. A quick read of the Order reveals very specific actions and timelines that federal agencies must take to plan and implement actions to reduce carbon emissions and conserve resources in order to meet sustainable goals. Several sections of the Order target federally owned facilities and buildings as areas that agencies must focus attention in meeting their "Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan." Much of the text is devoted to adoption of strategies for locating, planning, designing, constructing, and operating/maintaining buildings that reduce energy use and emissions and encourages seeking alternative energy sources. Although historic preservationists have worked over the past several years to tout the benefits of historic preservation principles as key tools to reach sustainability goals, the Executive Order does not devote as much language supporting preservation as could be hoped for. The most direct reference to historic preservation can be found in Section 2 (g) viii ("ensuring that rehabilitation of federally owned historic buildings utilizes best practices and technologies in retrofitting to promote long-term viability of the buildings:"). The Order is very strong in directing federally owned facilities to be located in center city districts and neighborhoods served by transit. Other items of interest to preservationists are references to reducing the amount of construction and demolition debris going to landfills. See Sections 2 and 10 for much of the language that focuses on federal agency facility location and management.