Preservation Green Lab

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About the Preservation Green Lab

Launched in March of 2009, the Seattle-based Preservation Green Lab advances research that explores the value that older buildings bring to their communities, and pioneers policy solutions that make it easier to reuse and green older and historic buildings. The Green Lab seeks to minimize carbon impacts from the built environment through direct emissions reductions from building retrofits and reuse, and to conserve character-rich and human-scale communities that attract people to more sustainable, urban living patterns. Learn More

What's New:

Building on Chicago's Strengths: The Partnership for Building Reuse

Chicago’s older buildings are known the world over as incredible architectural assets. The city is experiencing growth and investment that is bringing population, employment, and vitality back to the city. Townhomes are being rehabilitated and new apartment blocks are sprouting up near transit stops. Commercial corridors are bustling with new restaurants, bars, and business. New employers are moving into repurposed older buildings. But many vacant and underutilized spaces still exist in the city’s diverse, distinctive neighborhoods.

Building on Chicago’s Strengths examines the value that older buildings lend to Chicago's neighborhoods as well as how the city can overcome barriers to building reuse and unlock development potential. Learn more.

Projects + Research

  • Older, Smaller, Better: This groundbreaking study demonstrates the unique and valuable role that older, smaller buildings play in the development of sustainable cities.
  • America Saves! to Help Energize Main Street Small Businesses: The Green Lab is helping cities and community development organizations restore their social fabric and neighborhoods and revitalize their economy and community well-being through the America Saves! initiative. The program is a national model for delivering energy efficiency to small businesses and buildings, driving cost savings and new investment in existing buildings and is supported by a $2 million grant award from the U.S. Department of Energy.
  • Outcome Based Energy Codes: A new, Outcome-Based Energy Code framework provides regulatory flexibility and enables innovation in greening older buildings.
  • Partnership for Building Reuse: A new report, Learning from Los Angeles, developed by the Preservation Green Lab in partnership with the Urban Land Institute, recommends strategies to make it easier to reuse and retrofit existing buildings in Los Angeles and elsewhere.
  • Realizing the Energy Efficiency Potential of Small Buildings: A new report produced by Preservation Green Lab shows that small commercial buildings represent a massive and largely untapped opportunity for new energy savings. 
  • Green Windows: New research offers insight for homeowners weighing the financial and energy trade-offs between replacing or repairing older, less efficient windows.
  • The Environmental Value of Building Reuse: New research explores the environmental value of reusing buildings rather than demolishing them to replace with new construction.
  • District Energy & Eco-Districts: District Energy and Eco-District strategies can make it easier and more affordable to transition older neighborhoods to cleaner sources of energy as well as pursue the three tenets of sustainability (environment, economic, social) as an overall goal.