Historic preservation, by definition, includes the conservation of existing materials. Buildings and structures are saved and reused, allowing us to continue to enjoy the productive investment that was made when the materials were first cut, quarried, crafted, transported and installed. This makes preservation a key factor in sustainability, the concept of meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.
Although modern building practices can help to achieve energy efficiencies, it is an often stated fact that we cannot build our way to sustainability. Nor is it necessary for us to abandon our cultural landscapes and architectural achievements that set us apart as a nation in an effort to attain this goal. Most historic buildings are, due to their materials, design and context, inherently efficient. But further efficiencies may be achievable without sacrificing or compromising our irreplaceable heritage.
By pursuing historic preservation and incorporating sustainable design, the we can help to conserve materials and energy, prolong the life of existing buildings, support local economic development efforts, revitalize communities, and enhance the quality of life we enjoy as residents of San Antonio, Texas and throughout the world.
City of San Antonio Office of Historic Preservation
The Office of Historic Preservation (OHP), located at, sapreservation.org, protects the historic, cultural, architectural, and archaeological resources that make San Antonio unique. Our government office promotes preservation through the creation of local historic districts and local individual landmarks. Along with the Historic and Design Review Commission (HDRC), the OHP oversees a design review process for exterior alterations to historic landmarks and districts, properties within the RIO districts (spanning the San Antonio River), public properties, and public art to ensure that modifications and changes are appropriate for historic resources. We coordinate with other City departments to comply with required environmental review processes to protect historic resources.
Resources Available from the Texas Historical Commission
- Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy and Historic Preservation: A Guide for Historic District Commissions (PDF)
- Going Green Downtown (PDF)
Visit the Following Links to Learn More
- National Trust- Sustainability and Historic Preservation
- National Trust- Sustainability Resources for Forum Members
- National Trust- Window Weatherization Links and Resources
- NPS Sustainability Homepage
- NPS Guide to Weatherizing and Improving the Energy Efficiency of Historic Buildings
- NPS Energy Efficiency Guidelines for Restoring Historic Buildings
- NPS Preservation Brief #4: Conserving Energy in Historic Buildings
- NPS Illustrated Guidelines on Sustainability for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings
- NPS Guidelines for Solar Panels on Historic Properties
- NPS Guidelines for Adding Green Roofs to Historic Buildings
- California SHPO's Compilation of Window Repair and Retrofit Resources
- Preservation Magazine- The Green Issue (Mar/Apr 2010)
- Preservation Magazine- The Green Issue (Mar/Apr 2009)
- Preservation Magazine- The Green Issue (Jan/Feb 2008)
- Whole Building Design Guide- Sustainable Historic Preservation
- Donovan Rypkema- Economics, Sustainability and Historic Preservation