Skip to content

Historic Resources: Climate Change and Gutter System Capacity

Sayward Exterior

Sayward-Wheeler House, York Harbor, Maine

Image: Historic New England

  • COST

    Free and open to the public.

  • TYPE




In 2018, Historic New England completed an analysis of the performance of twenty gutter systems at nine of its properties. The premise of the analysis was simple: are these systems sufficient to transport the rainwater they receive today away from the building, will they be adequate for future rainstorms, and what modifications might be inhibiting water flow. The study quickly determined these systems are currently a major failure point for the historic buildings. The gutter systems that we are currently preserving and replacing in kind are frequently inadequate for the task of carrying rainwater today and certainly not up to the task of responding to the challenges of climate change. Join us to hear Benjamin Haavik, HNE's Team Leader of Property Care, discuss these timely and important findings.

Benjamin Haavik is responsible for the maintenance and preservation of 37 historic house museums and landscapes open to the public. He manages 15 full-time staff, including preservation carpenters, preservation managers, and landscape staff. During his time at Historic New England, Ben has introduced a system for strategic prioritization of preservation work, documented the numerous approaches used to preserve the properties and made them available to the public on the internet, developed a weatherization and energy efficiency framework for the organization, and spearheaded system-wide initiatives to better understand the environmental, security and life safety systems at the sites and is now looking at issues of climate change and resiliency. Previously, Ben was Deputy Director of the Historic House Trust of New York City, where he cared for 24 historic sites throughout the five NYC boroughs. Ben began his career at Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park Historic Preservation Trust, after receiving his MS in Historic Preservation from the University of Pennsylvania. In 2004, he participated in the Attingham Summer School Program in England. Ben currently is on the executive committee of COSTEP Massachusetts, a group dedicated to statewide cultural resource preparedness.

1.5 LU/HSW AIA credits are available.