A new guideline from ASHRAE provides advice on ways to minimize disturbances to the characteristics and materials of historic structures.

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers’ new guideline provides advice for energy efficiency and energy conservation improvements involving historic structures.

“The worldwide preservation community recognizes the importance of reducing the consumption of fuels,” said William Rose, a member of the guideline-writing committee. “Many codes and standards exempt such buildings from energy conservation requirements, based on an assumption that imposition of energy-saving measures may compete with preservation requirements. Nevertheless, preservationists generally wish to balance the mandate to maintain the integrity and authenticity of their buildings with growing needs for energy conservation. And some codes, notably the recent International Energy Conservation Code, have moved from a blanket exemption to a narrower provision-by-provision basis.”

Association officials say the new guideline will help those engaged in preservation to design and provide energy conservation measures. It addresses planning and operation, mechanical systems, building envelopes and lighting.

“We just can’t give up on using historic buildings,” said former society President Tom Watson. “They are too valuable and leave too large an environmental footprint to be neglected or abandoned.”