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ENVIRONMENTAL IMPLICATIONS OF LOCAL PRESERVATION COMMISSION ACTIONS: A SURVEY OF NEW ENGLAND DECISIONS

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Abstract

This paper is a survey of local historic preservation commission decisions and conditions of approval from a selection of New England preservation commissions from 2021 to 2022. In this survey, I analyze how commission decisions affect project sustainability and whether commissions are considering sustainability in their decisions. I find that a small fraction of commission decisions does affect project sustainability. These impacts are primarily positive, but decisions concerning solar panel installation and a strict adherence to standards of historic integrity can lead to negative impacts on project sustainability. Few commissions are actively considering sustainability in their decision making, and those that are do so informally, without the backing of ordinance language. Importantly, commissions that did even infrequently consider sustainability in their decision making did not make decisions that negatively affected project sustainability, indicating that more widespread consideration of sustainability would minimize negative environmental impacts of all preservation commission decisions.

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2023-05

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historic preservation; green building; sustainability; local regulation

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Union Local

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Government Document

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International

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term paper

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tagged PDF

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