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Guidelines for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings in Blanco
Wednesday, September 18, 2013 • Posted September 20, 2013

This is a continuation from last week’s article on the ‘Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation and Guidelines for Rehabilitation of Historic Buildings’. Here is the web’s link http://www.blanconews.com/news/112251/ if you missed it.

The guidelines were initially developed in 1977 to help property owners, developers and federal managers to apply ‘The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation’ during the project planning stage by providing general design and technical recommendations.

A case-by-case determination is best accomplished by seeking assistance from qualified historic preservation professionals in the very early stages of the project planning. Unlike the Standards, the Guidelines are not codified as program requirements.

The following information pertain to historic buildings of all materials, construction types, sizes and occupancy; and apply to exterior and interior work; as well as new additions and the buildings site and environment. They are presented in a “Recommended” vs “Not Recommended” format.

The guidelines begins with the most basic and least invasive approaches that will help the project achieve the desired goal, before considering work that may involve more change and potentially greater impact on the historic character of the building is maintained during any upgrades.

The Planning Stage

#1 Recommended: Forming an integrated sustainability team when working on a large project that includes a preservation professional to ensure that the character and integrity of the historic building is maintained during any upgrades.

Not Recommended: Omitting preservation expertise from a sustainability project team.

# 2 Recommended: Analyzing the condition of inherently-sustainable features of the historic building, such as shutters, storm windows, awnings, porches, vents, roof monitors, skylights, light wells, transoms and naturally-lit corridors, and including them in energy audits and energy modeling, before planning upgrades.

Not Recommended: Ignoring inherently-sustainable features of the existing historic building when creating energy models and planning upgrades.

# 3 Recommended: Identifying ways to reduce energy use, such as installing fixtures and appliances that conserve resources, including energy-efficient lighting or energy-efficient lamps in existing light fixtures, low-flow plumbing fixtures, sensors and timers that control water flow, lighting and temperature, before undertaking more invasive treatments that may negatively impact the historic building.

# 4 Recommended: Prioritizing sustainable improvements, beginning with minimally invasive treatments that are least likely to damage historic building material.

Not Recommended: Beginning work with substantive or irreversible treatments without first considering and implementing less invasive measures.

The Maintenance Stage

#1 Recommended: Maintaining historic buildings regularly to preserve historic fabric and maximize operational efficiency.

Not Recommended: Delaying maintenance treatments which may result in the loss of historic building fabric or decrease the performance of existing systems or features.

#2 Recommended: Retaining and repairing durable historic building materials.

Not Recommended: Removing durable historic building materials and replacing them with materials perceived as more sustainable; for instance, removing historic heart pine flooring and replacing it with new bamboo flooring.

#3 Recommended: Using environmentally-friendly cleaning products that are compatible with historic finishes.

Not Recommended: Using cleaning products potentially harmful to both historic finishes and the environment.

#4 Recommended: Using sustainable products and treatments, such as low VOC paints and adhesives and lead-safe paint removal methods, as much as possible, when rehabilitating a historic building.

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