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This paper focuses primarily on the District of Columbia, a city with a robust past and a bold agenda for a sustainable future. However, it may not be obvious why historic preservation - a movement typically concerned with aesthetics - can play an integral role in a city's sustainability initiative. Therefore, this paper first sets forth the basic argument why historic preservation can be a tool to promote sustainable development. Part II examines the scientific data indicating that historic preservation is a green building practice. Next, Part III posits that investment in historic districts is an investment in sustainability. Then, Part IV gives an overview of the recent efforts by the National Trust for Historic Preservation to bolster this argument, including the National Trust's collaboration with the U.S. Green Building Council, which has yielded significant changes to the LEED rating system.

The remainder of this paper focuses on the efforts of the District. This paper identifies challenges and opportunities for the city's historic preservation program as the city commits to a sustainable future.