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Historic buildings, modern policies

Building Tomorrow Episode 11

Published January 17, 2023

This conversation was originally recorded in May 2022

Retrofitting existing buildings can help increase energy efficiency and cut carbon emissions. But what do these retrofits look like in a place like Manhattan, where almost one-third of total floor area has landmark status and is, therefore, energy-code exempt?

In this episode of Building Tomorrow, Dr. Erica Avrami, Nate Rogers and Kate Reggev discuss these energy code waivers and how, despite the waivers, new greenhouse gas legislation could necessitate energy retrofits in historic buildings. This new era of regulation marks a momentous shift in regulation practices and signals a need for significant reforms to preservation policies in light of climate change.

This interview expands on Dr. Avrami’s previous research, including her paper, “Energy and Historic Buildings: Toward Evidence-Based Policy Reform,” which examines the implications of a changing legislative landscape on historic preservation in NYC.


Dr. Erica Avrami
James Marston Fitch Assistant Professor of Historic Preservation, Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation
Nate Rogers
Senior Associate, Beyer Blinder Belle
Kate Reggev
Project Manager, Zubatkin Owner Representation