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A Call to Action

The Pocantico Proclamation on Sustainability and Historic Preservation lays forth the imperative for sustainability and offers guiding principles for the use of historic preservation as a model and a partner for a sustainable society.

The future success of the Proclamation necessitates tremendous effort and work on the part of historic preservation practitioners.  The Actions to further the Pocantico Principles on Sustainability and Historic Preservation represent a vast, diverse, evolving, and flexible inventory of actions aligned with the ideals of the Proclamation.  We call upon preservation practitioners to assist in carrying out these and other actions to help in
transitioning to a sustainable society.


EducationIntegrate sustainability into preservation education

AE1) Incorporate sustainability into preservation curricula at all levels of
education.AE2) Promote service learning opportunities focused on preservation
and sustainability.AE3) Develop educational tool kits custom tailored for various needs
(e.g. policy makers, historic building owners and managers, and
students in primary, secondary, and higher education).AE4) Challenge historic preservation research programs to expand the
understanding of sustainable historic preservation.

Local Organizations and CommissionsEngage local preservation organizations and commissions

AE5) Utilize the more than 3,000 local preservation organizations and
innumerable local commissions to promote preservation as a
sustainable solution, and to become sustainability advocates within
their communities.AE6) Provide local community-based preservation organizations and
local commissions with technical, policy, and practical tools for
promoting preservation as a key to sustainability.AE7) Focus resources at the local level as this is where numerous policy
decisions are made.

Energy Management Actively manage climate control systems

AE8) Encourage property management organizations to adopt flexible
indoor environmental standards that improve operating energy
performance.AE9) Promote the “behavioral wedge” – the concept that we can reduce
one “wedge” (a gigaton) of greenhouse gases by altering our
behavior (i.e. turning off lights, using shades, opening windows,

Public Policy (PP)

Green Building Rating SystemsIntegrate preservation into sustainability standards, codes, and rating systems

PP1) Work with developers of green building rating systems to ensure
the value of building reuse is recognized.PP2) Promote the adoption of mandates for the improved energy
performance of historic properties following recognized national
models and timetables.PP3) Develop performance based energy codes, so that historic
properties can find non-standard methods for improved energy

Historic Preservation PoliciesUpdate historic preservation policies to include sustainability principles and practices

PP4) Identify critical conflicts between sustainable design practices and preservation and develop solutions.PP5) Integrate green design practices into preservation guidelines as part of a fresh look at the Secretary’s Standards (i.e. The Secretary of the Interior’s Guidelines for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings) by emphasizing ways to enhance building performance while preserving historic character.PP6) Create new Interpreting the Standards Bulletins on common issues related to sustainable design practices and historic projects.PP7) Support research programs that explore new technologies for retrofitting historic structures and quantify the sustainability of preservation.

City and Regional PlanningIntegrate preservation with planning, community development, and transportation

PP8) Illustrate America’s automobile dependence and the drastic divergence from America’s strong transit history.PP9) Encourage all levels of government to fund mass-transit infrastructure instead of personal automobiles in urban settings.PP10) Explore the use of urban growth boundaries and promote sustainable planning as seen in historic districts (e.g. walkable, transit-oriented, and livable communities)

FundingDevelop reliable and professional funding sources

PP11) Promote new sources of funding through environmental, housing, transit, and energy programs promoting sustainable solutions.PP12) Integrate preservation into an economic stimulus plan based on the inherent sustainability of historic preservation.

Economic InvestmentDevelop economic programs to reinvest in existing buildings

PP13) Encourage government to offer incentives for reuse over demolitionPP14) Encourage public and private grants for reinvestment in historic buildings and communities.PP15) Work with the National Park Service and other review agencies to encourage expedited tax credit approval and streamlined reviews for sustainable projects.


RehabilitationsAchieve Net Zero historic rehabilitations

T1) Utilize best practices and technologies to ensure long-term viability of historic resources through renewable energy.T2) Aspire to “net zero” historic rehabilitations for all types and scales of historic places.

EnergyPromote and develop technologies and products that support sustainable
practices compatible with historic properties

T3) Work with industry to develop energy conservation and alternative energy products and techniques that respect the characteristics of historic properties.T4) Encourage planning for alternative energy development and distribution that properly considers the impacts on cultural and natural resources.

Demonstration ProjectLaunch a sustainable preservation demonstration project

T5) Design and implement demonstration projects showcasing the best
sustainable design approaches and technologies while utilizing
representative historic properties across America.


Preservation practitioners must rise to the sustainability challenges we face to inspire and inform society at large.  Building upon the Pocantico Proclamation on Sustainability and Historic Preservation, the action items provide guidance in transitioning historic preservation to the forefront of the sustainability movement.
The objectives of the actions are twofold.  Firstly, illustrate that historic preservation offers a model for sustainability.  Secondly, challenge preservation to more fully incorporate sustainable building practices.  Through interdisciplinary collaboration, partnership between government and the private sector, and diligent work on behalf of preservationists, we can transform historic preservation into a leading, relevant, and
timely exemplar for a sustainable twenty-first century.

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National Center for Preservation Technology and Training
645 University Parkway
Natchitoches, LA 71457

Email: ncptt[at]nps.gov
Phone: (318) 356-7444
Fax: (318) 356-9119