From Green Monster to green roofs

10/31/23  |  Liz and Ellie Local

How historic preservation and climate resiliency can save Boston

Greetings, Bostonians and residents of the surrounding areas! Our team at Liz & Ellie Local has always looked at real estate through a lens of environmental responsibility. We recently attended a sustainability conference, and came out of it energized and excited. We live in one of the oldest metropolitan areas in the country; spend an hour at Faneuil Hall in August and you’ll see that our historic sites bring in visitors from around the world. At the same time, climate change and its effects have already begun affecting our city, its infrastructure, and its residents. Frequent flooding and hotter days disrupt our infrastructure, cause living costs to soar, and impact our public health. As we navigate the ever-changing climate landscape, it's crucial to preserve our beloved historic buildings while also building a sustainable future. That’s why we're exploring the fascinating intersection of historic preservation and climate resiliency, and why we feel that forging a successful relationship between the two is essential for the real estate market in Boston and beyond. 



The charm of preservation 

Boston's rich history is etched into the very fabric of its architecture. From the iconic brownstones of Beacon Hill to the majestic rows of Victorian homes in the South End, these historic gems are what make our city truly unique. Preserving these architectural treasures not only maintains our cultural heritage but also adds value to the real estate market. Buyers are drawn to the charm and character that only a historic home can offer. However, these historic places weren’t built for today’s climate challenges; and sometimes solutions that prioritize our environment feel diametrically opposed to preserving historic value. Case in point: just last year, the City of Boston finally drew up plans to replace Beacon Hill’s iconic gas street lamps with safer, less polluting LEDs. As you might imagine, it didn’t go smoothly, with many residents speaking out against making the changes and even some members of local historic commissions opposing the measures. 


Climate resiliency: a modern necessity 

While we cherish our historic buildings, we can't ignore the reality of climate change. It’s vital that city departments communicate openly with historic preservation groups and community members in order to get buy-in for these essential changes. We cannot deny that rising sea levels, extreme weather events, and heatwaves threaten the very foundations of our city. As responsible stewards of our environment, we must embrace climate resiliency measures to protect our homes and communities. By integrating sustainable practices into historic preservation, we can ensure a more sustainable and resilient future.


The marriage of old and new 

Imagine a historic brownstone with solar panels adorning its roof or a charming Victorian home equipped with rainwater harvesting systems. By blending modern technologies with historic structures, we can achieve a harmonious balance between preservation and sustainability. This not only reduces our carbon footprint but also lowers utility bills, making these homes more attractive to buyers. The City of Boston even has a guide outlining some of these practices. Check it out here.


The benefits of green roofs 

Boston's skyline is famous for its sports teams and iconic landmarks (I was so proud when my daughter was able to pick out the Citgo sign for the first time!); imagine, if you will, a skyline dotted with lush green roofs! Green roofs provide a myriad of benefits, including improved insulation, reduced stormwater runoff, and enhanced air quality. Plus, they look pretty! By encouraging and incentivizing the installation of green roofs on historic buildings, we can mitigate the urban heat island effect and create a more resilient cityscape overall. 


Be part of the solution

Ready to take the plunge into the world of historic preservation and climate resiliency? Here are a few steps you can take: 

  • Explore local organizations dedicated to historic preservation and climate resilience, such as the Boston Preservation Alliance and the Green Ribbon Commission. 
  • Attend community meetings and engage with like-minded individuals who are passionate about preserving our city's heritage while embracing sustainability. 
  • Consider incorporating sustainable features into your own home, such as energy-efficient appliances, rainwater harvesting systems, or even solar panels.
  • Stay Connected: To stay up-to-date with the latest news, trends, and tips on historic preservation and climate resiliency, follow us on social media and subscribe to our newsletter.


Together, we can create a more resilient and sustainable Boston for future generations!

Use the following hashtags to join the conversation: #HistoricPreservation #ClimateResiliency #SustainableBoston #PreserveandProtect 



Read More Articles

View All

Work With Us

With their complementary communication styles, responsiveness, competence, and ability to truly listen, Ellie and Liz enable their clients to feel at ease throughout any real estate transaction. They would welcome the opportunity to be your next real estate advisors.

Let's Connect

Follow Us on Instagram