Sustainability is viewed as modern and progressive while preservation is perceived as old, static and only relevant to some. Are LEED programs more of a marketable product than a necessity? If so, aren’t LEED efforts another product of modernism?
The manner in which “Green building” is marketed assumes the old fabric is not salvageable, reusable or adaptable. Renovating existing buildings for energy conservation purposes is in most instances the better choice. Yet, Green Building and LEED have opened a new market for “modern” practices to shape the built world carrying along a futuristic aesthetic that is more marketable. This is put forth by the concept of progress; newer technology and obsolescence resulting from a consumerist market. However, sustainability as defined reflects older architectural practices. Vernacular architecture often reflects an environmental approach. Traditionally (aboriginal, indigenous or ancestral) vernacular architecture reflects the environmental context and available resources, seeking to meet specific needs.
There is also the issue of preserving the integrity of older buildings. Is “environmental value” considered when discussing integrity? Such worth would alienate the property from association with past events, people or architecture.