LEED and historic preservation : a study of USGBC’s LEED rating system for new construction and major renovations as it pertains to historic building renovations
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This thesis discusses the United States Green Building Council’s proposed changes in the LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Rating System for New Construction and Major Renovations from the current 2009 version to the proposed 2012 version, as they pertain to historic building renovation projects. The comparison is aimed at determining whether the proposed changes to the rating system are becoming more favorable to historic preservation, promoting the rehabilitation and reuse of historic buildings as environmentally responsible practices. The discussion is taken a step further by proposing potential modifications and metrics that could be implemented into the LEED® Rating System in order to help advance historic preservation by recognizing the many inherent sustainable qualities of historic buildings, such as regional climate-adaptive features, durable materials and skilled craftsmanship. The upcoming renovation of Battle Hall and West Mall Building, two buildings that are part of the School of Architecture complex at the University of Texas at Austin, serves as case study of historic buildings undergoing major renovations to which both the LEED 2009 and LEED 2012 Draft Rating Systems for New Construction and Major Renovations are applied. An analysis of the results informs the comparison between the two versions of the rating system. The results of the comparison indicate that changes in the LEED® rating system for New Construction and Major Renovation from the 2009 to the 2012 version are favorable for historic preservation. The USGBC is advancing in the right direction with establishing more credits for historic preservation projects. The 2012 3rd Public Comment Draft rating system introduces the notion of “historic building” and that of “historic district” for the first time, in credits that address infill within a historic district and reuse of a historic building, with work performed in accordance with The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties. This represents a step forward toward integrating historic preservation and building reuse in the vocabulary of sustainability.