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The Greening of Historic Places: Finding Common Ground Between Historic Tax Credits and LEED Certification (2008)

Directed by Professor Jo Ramsay Leimenstoll. 120 pp. 


The number of LEED certified historic buildings continues to increase as the use of the LEED rating system becomes more wide-spread. This increase has led to the need to understand the impact of the LEED rating system on historic buildings. This thesis focused on the study of projects involving the rehabilitation of historic buildings using federal historic tax credits and seeking LEED certification. The decision to only evaluate federal historic tax credit projects was made in order to have a means of measuring the impact on the historic character of the building. All projects using federal historic tax credits must adhere to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Historic Rehabilitations, a set of guidelines for the proper treatment procedures to insure the protection of the historic integrity of the built environment. The LEED certification serves as a means to judge the quality of green design employed in the rehabilitation.

For each of the ten identified projects the national register nomination, federal historic tax credit application, and LEED scorecard was evaluated to identify commonalities and relationships that exist between the two independent processes. The evaluation yielded an ideal building and project profile for projects seeking federal historic tax credits and LEED certification, commonalities in LEED points earned, and the investigation of relationships that exist between the two processes. These findings will serve to inform both the preservation and green building communities of physical characteristics, project types, how dual certification projects earn LEED points, and an understanding of the relationships that exist between federal historic tax credit and LEED certification processes. 

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