Theses (Historic Preservation)

Document Type

Thesis or dissertation

Date of this Version



Suggested Citation:

Haley, Andrea Kathryn (2016). Certifying Preservation: How Preservation Can Introduce Social Sustainability to Building Certification Programs. (Masters Thesis). University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.


When sustainability is discussed in the built environment it is often limited to environmental sustainability, however, there are many other values that should be considered. The field of historic preservation offers ways to incorporate social and cultural sustainability into the built fabric of cities and communities, but is often misrepresented or viewed as a niche field. This thesis explored how historic preservation can learn from the ‘green building’ movement which has risen to prominence to become a large part of the building culture in a relatively short period of time.

One of the most well-known tools is the USGBC’s LEED Certification, which, along with other certification programs, is examined to determine the possibilities and challenges of creating a voluntary third-party certification program as a method to raise awareness and promote preservation values in projects, and thereby incorporate social and cultural sustainability in the built environment. Such a program has the potential to be an additional tool to create holistically sustainable projects, but requires market demand to create major impact. Additionally, the creation of such a program requires more exploration into many challenges found here, including evaluating intangible and subjective values.


sustainability, LEED, adaptive reuse, social capital, building culture



Date Posted: 24 August 2016