Energy and Historic Buildings: Toward evidence-based policy reform

Avrami, Erica C.; Most, Jennifer L.; Gasha, Anna; Ghoshal, Shreya

This research informs the intersection of climate and heritage policy development by examining the history of US energy policy as it relates to historic buildings, emerging policy tools to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and the implications of a changing legislative landscape on historic buildings through the case of New York City. This study employs a multi-method approach, including a review of US energy codes; discourse analysis of government records, energy studies, and reports related to historic buildings and energy; select research into energy-related heritage policy at the municipal level; and geospatial and statistical methods to analyze policy implications in the case study of New York City. Historic buildings have long been afforded exemptions from energy code compliance in the US, and these waivers are widespread. Contemporary operating energy and greenhouse gas data, as well as energy justice findings about who these waivers privilege, challenge these exemptions and signal a need for significant policy reform in light of climate change. This study questions longstanding rhetoric about historic buildings being inherently green and supports the need for more evidence-based research to undergird heritage policy reform that is equitable and climate-responsive.

Geographic Areas


  • thumnail for ENERGY + HISTORIC BUILDINGS - Avrami, Most, Gasha, Ghoshal.pdf ENERGY + HISTORIC BUILDINGS - Avrami, Most, Gasha, Ghoshal.pdf application/pdf 723 KB Download File

Also Published In

Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development

More About This Work

Academic Units
Historic Preservation
Architecture, Planning, and Preservation
Published Here
October 15, 2021