Meet OSCAR – your Guide for Sustainable Preservation

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You’ve got a challenging building.

Every building is unique, and yours is no exception. Your building predates the current building codes, and certainly the current energy use requirements.

We get it.

You’re trying to take care of your building and all that makes it special, while you improve its energy performance. That is, you’re trying to be a good steward of both your building and the environment. Yet so much of what you’re finding seems to be putting the two goals at odds with each other.

OSCAR can help.

OSCAR was developed by the Association for Preservation Technology, an international organization that for over 45 years has defined the cutting edge of preservation technology. In other words, this is the organization that understands how to work effectively and sensitively with historic buildings.

APT’s Technical Committee on Sustainable Preservation has been working with the challenges of sustainable preservation for over a decade. As a tool developed by the TCSP, OSCAR disseminates that wisdom in a format that is readily accessible for your use.


OSCAR guides you through the process of designing the sustainability improvements that are most appropriate to your existing (and perhaps historically significant) building. In this process you will:

  • learn about the best practices for each element,
  • discover strategies that may be well-suited for your building and climate, and
  • understand how your building components work together to create a holistic intervention strategy for your whole building.

OSCAR does so by helping you build an informational model of your building, over the course of five steps. At the end you will have a printable report, documenting the decisions you’ve made along the way.

OSCAR-flowchart-One Page Summary-cropped

We invite you to try out OSCAR for yourself!                                                                                                                              Login to OSCAR.

Preservation and sustainability are partners in the creation of environmentally beneficial practices which protect cultural resources. While the conservation of our natural and cultural heritage has been embraced as worthwhile in its own right, the economic advantages of conservation have been recognized as well. Increasingly apparent is the opportunity to promote sustainability through such strategies as improved efficiency in consumption of energy. Many aspects of sustainability are already embodied in historic buildings, and OSCAR will assist with development of strategies to advance their sustainability while respecting their historic character.

This initial launch of OSCAR examines only the treatment of three components—roofs, walls, and windows, which are among the most visible features of historic buildings. Although the focus of this first release is narrow, the same principles will be employed in the entire tool, using a holistic approach—whole building ecology—in which other components and elements, such as the rest of the building’s envelope, will be examined to devise the best solution to preserve historic character in an environmentally sustainable cultural resource.

The Technical Committee on Sustainable Preservation’s OSCAR Team appreciates your interest. After using OSCAR, please provide your feedback.

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“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.”  -John Muir

TCSP-2013_logo OSCAR and the APT Technical Committee on Sustainable Preservation (TC-SP) are grateful for the generous support of: the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training (NCPTT); Mitacs Canada Accelerate; the Historic Preservation Education Foundation (HPEF); Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC Create); and Heritage Engineering, Carleton University, Ottawa.
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