Mercer to present report to preservation meeting

Published 12:36 am Tuesday, September 6, 2011

City of Washington News Release

Interested in learning more about how to integrate preservation and energy-efficiency practices?

Washington’s Historic Preservation Commission will hear a report from Carmen Mercer, a municipal energy intern, at 7 p.m. today as part of the regularly scheduled Historic Preservation Commission meeting.

The research, a culmination of a year’s worth of study, will offer guidance to residents in the historic district on how to improve energy efficiency while preserving the character of historic buildings.

In 2010, the city, working in conjunction with East Carolina University’s department of political science, was awarded a grant from the N.C. Department of Commerce’s energy division to make recommendations as to how local-level policies and programs could promote and/or incentivize energy efficiency improvements in residential housing stocks. The internship offered two graduate students paid internships with the city. One of the interns developed an energy survey to analyze household energy patterns and consumer behaviors. The results of the study are forthcoming. The other effort aimed to answer this question: “How can you achieve energy efficiency in the historic district while being mindful of the U.S. secretary of interior’s guidelines for historic preservation?”

To answer this question, Mercer conducted a comparative analysis of local historic-district guidelines from across the state and completed a review of related case studies. By accessing the language and approaches used to guide Historic Preservation Commission members, Mercer produced a document that will be used by the Historic Preservation Commission as it redesigns its historic district guidelines to include provisions for energy retrofit and emerging technologies, a process under way.

Her research stresses the inherent sustainability of historic buildings and covers a wide range of topics, including windows, doors, weatherization, insulation, solar technology, wind power and the use shade trees.

The commission meets in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building, 102 E. Second St.