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Building Green within a Historical Framework

What is Historecycle?

Historecycle was founded to showcase historic building renovations where green features are integrated into the redesign. We promote restoration and renovation, not demolition. 


In our opinion, it pays to think twice before tearing down an aging building and then constructing a new one from scratch. Too often this is an exercise in wasted effort and materials. Why not instead refashion an old-fashioned structure, thereby saving energy and resources? Onsite wood, brick, and stone can usually be salvaged.  Add other sustainable elements like green roofs, solar panels, and nontoxic paints, and the result is a place where conservation, comfort, and cost savings go hand in hand.


Historecycle’s mission is to hunt down and highlight examples of successful building makeovers. The more innovative, creative, and (of course) green, the better!


Historecycle features projects using the latest green technologies to revive aging buildings. An outdated reptile house becomes an airy conservation center. An old firehouse is recast as a sun-filled “boutique” hatmaking factory. An underground cistern emerges from the shadows to become a repository for campus rainwater.

The outcome? Not only do community treasures avoid the wrecking ball, but their distinctive features are literally brought back into the light.  


Green Technologies

Developers and building owners taking the "green plunge" report big pay-offs from using modern technologies to upgrade historic structures. Strategies for reducing a building’s impact on the environment can range from overhauling an outdated plumbing or HVAC system to simply switching to nontoxic wall coatings, using reclaimed wood, or insulating windows.

adaptive reuse, historic building, Chicago, green building, building renovations

Geothermal Heating/Cooling

Not only is a geothermal system much more efficient than a typical heating/cooling apparatus, it is largely hidden from view and is relatively quiet. With a geothermal, or ground-source, heat pump system, there is no need for unsightly air conditioners and chillers. Underground pipes circulate heat to and from the building's interior, delivering the earth's heat in the wintertime, and drawing heat back into the ground in the summer.

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