The PMR Blog    Building Recycling
How to Recycle a Building
Posted 2012-01-03 by Bob Neas in Building Recycling

One of the newest ways to save the environment is recycling or repurposing old buildings, this is also known as historical preservation. What’s involved in historical preservation? What is the benefit to repurposing historic structures? And how is it green?

What is Historical Preservation?

Historical Restoration means recycling existing building components; such as brick and stone. Restoration of masonry buildings is often preferred because the building materials are much more durable and longer lasting than new construction materials. Since preservation requires minimal changes to be made, preserving a historic façade is no easy task. For example if masonry is in need of repair, brick or stone replacement must be avoided. When the masonry is too damaged to be preserved and replacement must take place, the new masonry must match the original in color, size, and design. In order to reduce additional deterioration, when the façade is cleaned, it is only through the most non-abrasive, mildest cleaning methods. Using a restoration specialist willing to utilize techniques that preserve the existing façade, that have experience in reusing masonry materials, and that are skilled in matching new and historic masonry when needed, is essential. Masonry restoration specialists not only preserve national monuments but are involved in rehabilitating historic properties so they can be used as apartment buildings, banks, theatres, museums, restaurants, and so on; while still maintaining their original appearance.

What are the Cost Benefits to Adapting Historic Buildings?

It is commonly believed that older buildings are less cost-effective because it is thought that historic building sites require more frequent repairs and are less energy-efficient. It is true that in order to reestablish historic buildings improvements need to be made to any part of the exterior that may be deteriorating, to meet requirements for handicap accessibility, and to make sure any other safety codes or regulations are met.

However there are many ways construction costs can be lessened. New construction requires land or site development. Choosing an existing historic structure means choosing a site with established utility systems; for example electric, gas, and plumbing. Particularly in historical preservation demolition expenses are lessened because the key is to preserve as much of the building’s historic features and structure as possible. Additionally there are many governmental preservation firms that offer grants and financial assistance in historic restoration projects. Another option is to utilize tax credits that are available for buildings that qualify for historic recognition.

How is Repurposing Historic Properties Green?

Reusing look at this website older buildings for new uses are one way environmentally conscious building owners and developers are going green. Using land that has already been built up reduces the impact on undisturbed soil, promoting preservation of the environment along with historical preservation. By reusing buildings to the fullest extent, less demolition waste and debris are created. Rather than letting all that existing building material go to waste, rehabilitating a complex is a way of recycling an entire building. Additionally new construction litter and debris is bypassed. Even contractors, architects, and building owners are finding ways to incorporate green habits into their upcoming projects.

If your interested in having your historic building repurposed and are in Philadelphia, PA, NJ, or DE; contact us to set up a free consultation.

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