"Green Building and the Deathly Hallows."
That's the kind of mass-market book the opening speaker of "Preservation Plus," a five-day conference presented by Preservation Buffalo Niagara, jokingly envisioned Monday to popularize green construction.
Eric Corey Freed, principal of organic/ARCHITECT, a California-based architecture and consulting firm, told about 80 people in Allentown's Allendale Theatre that he expected climate change and other environmental threats to inexorably push the world in a greener and more sensible direction.
"The way we build, quite frankly, is silly. Somewhere in the last 50 years, we lost touch with how buildings relate to their environment. In doing so, we lost something intrinsically human about how to build," Freed said.
The time had arrived to retrofit historic buildings, he said, and make new builds as green as possible – something that's happening but not yet on the scale Freed said needs to occur.
"A green building is a better building; it generates it's own energy, cleans its own water, filters its environment," he said. "In truth, we can't afford not to make every building a green building, and the sooner we realize that, the better."
Today and Wednesday, the conference will offer field sessions at several sites, including the Buffalo Religious Arts Center, Community Beer Works Brewery, Central Terminal and Shea's Performing Arts Center.
Thursday, "Museums by Moonlight," open to nonconference attendees, will allow admission to several museums and historic sites, including the Richardson Olmsted Complex, Albright-Knox Art Gallery and Burchfield Penney Art Center. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased online at buffalotours.org.
The event ends Friday in the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center. Topics include historic preservation, urban planning and community revitalization.