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 Baltimore's History: The latest in a research series, this provides recommendations to leverage Baltimore's historic assets to support successful and equitable revitalization across the city.
  • Retrofitting Philadelphia: The Partnership for Building Reuse explores the challenges and opportunities related to building reuse in a city with a large stock of older, smaller buildings.
  • Older, Smaller, Better: This groundbreaking study demonstrates the unique and valuable role that older, smaller buildings play in the development of sustainable cities.

Current Projects + Research

  • 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.
  • Neighborhood Performance Metrics: The Green Lab is leveraging newly-available data to demonstrate the critical contributions of older, smaller buildings and "blockscapes" in fostering socially, economically, and culturally vibrant urban neighborhoods.  This work will inform targeted policies and development strategies that capitalize on cities' existing built assets and support lively neighborhoods full of social and economic opportunity.
  • 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.

Completed Projects + Research

  • 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. 
  • Deep Energy Retrofits: A new, web-based tool – being developed in partnership with the New Buildings Institute – will provide customized guidance for retrofits of smaller commercial structures to achieve energy savings of 50 percent or greater.
  • 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.