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Moe Talks About Green Preservation at Conservancy Event

By Ed Fuentes
Published: Saturday, November 15, 2008, at 07:37PM
Richard Moe Ed Fuentes

Richard Moe at the reception following his presentation to a crowd of Los Angeles Conservancy supporters.

Richard Moe is not only certain that preservation can save places that matter, but also that it can help an environment in crisis. To that end, Moe's National Trust has created a new Sustainable Initiative.

“Today we’re challenged to find ways of living that will ensure the longevity and health of our environment, economic and social resources,” Moe said to the crowd attending an L.A. Conservancy discussion on Sustainability and Historic Preservation at the Los Angeles Center Studios on Wednesday.

Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Washington DC based non-profit founded in 1949 to lead U.S. preservation, was in town to speak at the event, part of the Conservancy's 30th anniversary. Moe called the group "one of the gutsiest big-city preservation organizations in the country."

Downtown certainly knows the impact preservation can have on a neighborhood, but much talk about sustainability centers on new buildings and LEED certification.

“We need federal policy that directs growth to existing communities,” Moe said. “It makes no sense for us to recycle newsprint, bottles, and aluminum cans while we’re throwing away entire buildings, even entire neighborhoods.”

Moe assured the preservation friendly group that if older buildings go green, historic integrity isn’t sacrificed. The National Trust's website shows how to green an existing home without sacrificing character.

This focus on reuse shouldn't just be about saving trophy properties. The blocks around Center Studios offer plentiful examples of structures that aren't remarkable, but which could likely be renovated into smart, green buildings.

A sustainable package of incentives that allow these older buildings to become greener may be what is really needed to make a difference. It can save the ozone and create a few jobs, and in turn help slow two green crises.

"It's the direction we need to go," said Moe.

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