Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Historic Preservation

Committee Chair/Advisor

Amalia Leifeste

Committee Member

Craig Bennett

Committee Member

Frances Ford

Committee Member

Katie West


Using the tools provides by the scientific community, namely the products of lifecycle cost assessments (LCA) – which are synthesized in environmental product declarations (EPD) – and life cycle cost assessments (LCCA), the overall environmental and economic impacts of historic, traditional, and simulated materials are established and compared. This informs the historic preservation community of the quantifiable sustainability of historic materials in relation to alternatives. Through these two different methods of environmental and economic life cycle costing, this research demonstrates that retaining in-situ siding incurs the least impact on the environment and is the second most economic option. While the installation of new, traditional wood siding has the next lowest environmental impact, it is the most expensive method over time. Thus, while simulated materials are often promoted as the most environmentally and economically sustainable, retaining in-situ siding and its modern equivalent proves the most sustainable option. The replacement of historic wood siding with vinyl does provide the most economic option of the four. While this does not necessarily settle the historic preservation and sustainability conversation, it does present an interesting possibility of mothballing historic wood siding with vinyl. Through this thesis, data driven studies provide further support for the sustainability of historic and traditional means of siding, and reinforce conventional wisdom about the low financial burden of vinyl.



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