After completing the reading I learned a great deal about how sites are designated for preservation and in which ways they are preserved. I also enjoyed learning more about land that is included in preservation, including; Civil War battlefields, parks, and gardens. When I’ve traveled and visited historic sites, I especially enjoy looking at the gardens, and grounds. The gardens at Mt. Vernon, Monticello, and the governor’s mansion at Colonial Williamsburg are all very beautiful. I think it is just as important to preserve the buildings as it is to preserve the grounds and the gardens.
I also found chapter 10 interesting, although it was not part of our reading. On page 308, an order of Catholic nuns, Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary decided to rehabilitate their compound as a “green” residence and offices for the two hundred nuns. The IHM Motherhouse in located in Monroe, Michigan. The renovation took 2 years, and outdated pluming, electrical, and living spaces were all improved and many items were recycled or re-used in the buildings. They installed a gray water recycling system, expanded the use of natural lighting, and reused windows, doors, marble, and many other building materials. The project was so energy efficient that they were recognized by several agencies and given several awards. One was from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency with three “Energy Star” awards in 2007.
I was so interested in their building that I also looked at their website. They also included the use of a geothermal system to heat and cool their 376,000 square feet building –the Motherhouse. Also, by using the gray water recycling system, they reduced their fresh water use by almost 50%. Their campus is also home to native trees over 100 years old and an endangered oak savanna ecosystem. They wanted to restore and improve their building, so as not to re-build somewhere else on the property and have to cut down any trees. They also have a 2 acre organic community garden. The garden provides educational opportunities to the community to get involved in environmental responsibility and healthy living.