Sustainability & Historic Preservation: Guidelines and Solutions for Preserving Our Natural and Built Environments

Washington DC’s mayor has set a goal to make it “the healthiest, greenest, most livable city in the nation.”

Sustainability is almost a given in the design of any new commercial building, but what about DCs treasured stock of existing commercial and residential buildings?  One of the things that makes DC special is its rich collection of historic structures and neighborhoods.  Though generally designed to respond to DC’s mixed humid climate, most of these buildings are not particularly energy efficient by today’s standards. 

In this month’s COTEdc presentation, we will explore constraints, guidelines, technologies and design solutions for making our existing built environment “net-zero ready” while preserving the architectural character of these unique and beautiful places.  Preservation will also be considered in the context of the Sustainable DC 2.0 initiative.


  • Steve Callcott - Deputy Preservation Officer, DC Office of Planning
  • Maribeth DeLorenzo – PhD, AICP, LEED AP - Deputy Director,Urban Sustainability Administration, DC Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE).
  • David M. Epley - Green Building Manager, Green Building Division , Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA).
  • Stephen Gyor, AICP - Lead Sustainability Planner, DC Office of Planning

Organized by: COTEdc

At the completion of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Identify building and landscape features critical to preserving the unique historical character of DC neighborhoods;
  • Analyze the most common opportunities for enhancing the sustainability of buildings and landscapes without compromising their character and historical integrity;
  • Discuss construction details for walls, roofs, fenestration and other elements which will enhance energy performance without impacting the building’s architectural authenticity; and
  • Explore and access a wide range of sources for information on enhancing the performance of DC’s historic building stock.