Free Screening of "The Greenest Building" Documentary at the Crest!

"The greenest building is... one that is already built."
- Carl Elefante, AIA, LEED AP

On Monday, July 25th, 2011, The Greenest Building,” a new hour-long documentary will be shown at the Crest Theatre, 1013 K Street, Sacramento. All ages are welcome, and there is no charge for admission. Doors open at 6:30 for the 7PM show. A panel discussion will follow at approximately 8PM, highlighting the ideas in the film in relation to recent and upcoming preservation projects in Sacramento.

Per the event flyer, "The Greenest Building provides a compelling argument for conservation, rehabilitation and adaptive reuse of our existing building stock as the single-most effective strategy for reducing, reusing, and recycling one of our most important consumer products -- our buildings."

Screening of the film is presented by the Sacramento Old City Association (SOCA) and the Crest Theatre. More details are available via a Facebook event page, which encourages: "If you are interested in buildings, community development, sustainable communities or just plain want to find out if existing buildings really are worth keeping, plan to attend this special event."

I started this post with a quote by Carl Elefante. He has some thought-provoking ideas about modernist buildings in his June 2008 essay, "Renewing Modernism" from Places (Forum of Design for the Public Realm):

As modernism becomes historic, the 'modern-era' building stock, as it is often termed, is moving into a period of refurbishment.... Numbers alone indicate the importance of preserving and transforming modern-era buildings. Structures from the 1950s, ‘60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s represent more than 55 percent of all nonresidential buildings in the United States.... over the next generation, renovating modern-era buildings represents an even larger and more difficult endeavor than designing new buildings....

... working with modern buildings is redefining preservation thinking and technology. Modern architects and builders were famously forward-looking and quick to innovate, frequently incorporating materials and methods with little track record and no established methods for maintenance, repair and reconditioning.... The preservation of modern-era buildings will be driven by sustainability, and making modern-era buildings sustainable will be no small undertaking.....

The challenge lies in three areas. First, the fractured urbanism and far-flung suburbanization of modern-era cities presents tough problems.... Second, improving the exterior envelopes of modern-era buildings will be difficult and may favor replacement over enhancement. Third, modern-era buildings were designed in an era of cheap energy, and nearly all depend on fossil-fuel-consuming systems to be
habitable, even on the most basic level....
These implications and challenges are not what lovers of mid-century modern architecture necessarily want to hear, but they are indeed food for thought. In another essay Elefante highlights the important role of historic preservation: "To fully capture the value of the existing building stock requires merging two disciplines: historic preservation and green building. It requires an understanding of how to respect and renew what is already here and a vision for where and how to transform the legacy of the past into the promise of tomorrow."

Further links and ideas regarding green building and historic preservation:
- CA State Parks Green Preservation in the News
- Sustainable Historic Preservation
- Smart Growth and Sustainable Preservation of Existing and Historic Buildings
- Calculators for embodied energy
- the Original Green

I'm looking forward to seeing The Greenest Building and hearing what the panel has to say. Hope to see you there.

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