Portland’s historic Heathman Hotel has just completed a remodel of its 155 rooms with a eye toward sustainability. “Greening” a historic structure can be touchy subject to some preservationists. The ever-so-complex balancing act between profitability, utility and historical accuracy is made even more difficult when sustainability enters the rubric. I once took part in a spirited discussion over whether or not incandescent light bulbs should remain in use in future historic structures. It was my opinion that they should be replaced with LEDs even if it affected the authenticity of a space. There are many beautiful buildings but only one earth after all.
It appears that Ankrom Moisan Associated Architects, the firm that designed the remodel, agrees. They used LED lights throughout the remodel. Sustainable woods, low-flow toilets and water saving showers were also used and (perhaps this will satisfy any hardcore preservationists out there) 95% of the materials removed from the bathrooms were donated to ReBuilding Center where the hope is they will be recycled into new buildings. The designers also opted to use local artists in the redesign plans to reduce shipping and transportation; a move that likely kept costs down and definitely lowered the remodels carbon-footprint.
Perhaps the most green thing about the 1920’s palace is that it is still standing. Nothing is more wasteful and nasty than a needless tear-down.
I’d love to see the new interior. I will have to stop by.