The following is the Windsor Square Association monthly column published in the Larchmont Chronicle, written by WSA Board Member Fred Rheinstein.

Preservation is Good for the Environment

After passing the city council in 2004, 2 lawsuits have been filed to overturn the Windsor Square HPOZ. On May 15, 2008 Judge Ann Jones ruled on the second lawsuit. She DENIED the petitioners (NoHPOZ Alliance) on all motions. Judge Jones strongly upheld the City of Los Angeles’ environmental review and adoption processes for HPOZ’s and validated the fact that preservation is good for the environment.

The Windsor Square Association congratulates and is deeply appreciative of the City Planning Department, the City Attorney and the Los Angeles Conservancy for vigorously defending not only the Windsor Square HPOZ, but also the citywide HPOZ program. The lawsuit will ultimately serve to strengthen the HPOZ ordinance and bring greater clarity to the Preservation Plans as tools for neighborhood conservation.

Our Windsor Square Preservation Plan supports and promotes sustainability through recommendations for energy conservation design and maintenance procedures for reducing toxins in the environment. The City Planning Department and our HPOZ Board are ready to assist homeowners who may want to (amongst other things):

  • Install solar panels
  • Abate hazardous materials such as lead paint or asbestos
  • Increase the energy efficiency of your home without altering your existing windows and doors

In retrospect, it’s interesting to note that in the design of many of our historic Windsor Square homes a number of energy conserving design features were incorporated long before they were considered “green”:

  • Most homes were designed to allow for cross ventilation. Turn off your air conditioners, open your windows and take advantage of the cool late afternoon breezes in Windsor Square.
  • Original building materials such as lath and plaster, original exterior stucco, clay tile or slate roofs have excellent insulating properties. It is rare to find this quality of materials and installation techniques replicated in today’s construction industry.
  • Preserving and maintaining existing construction materials conserves natural resources and reduces the waste added to landfills.

The Department of Building and Safety works closely with City Planning to ensure that any new construction in an HPOZ meets current life safety standards while respecting the historic details and character of our homes.

For more information on the sustainability of historic structures see the new award winning publication by the LA Department of City Planning, “Caring for your Historic Home”