Preservation FACT:

According to the U.S. Green Building Council, in the United States alone, buildings account for:

  • 65% of electricity consumption,
  • 36% of energy use,
  • 30% of greenhouse gas emissions,
  • 30% of raw materials use,
  • 30% of waste output (136 million tons annually), and
  • 12% of potable water consumption.

Recycled Buildings

Recycling historic buildings is an effective way to achieve sustainability through historic preservation as the following before and after pictures of successful historic rehabilitation projects illustrate.


202-208 N. 19th Street, Richmond: Before  
202-208 N. 19th Street, Richmond: After
1108 Porter Street, Richmond: Before
1108 Porter Street, Richmond: After
3002 E. Broad Street, Richmond: Before
3002 E. Broad Street, Richmond: After


Before/After photos of 214 W. 12th Street, Richmond, Virginia. Renovations included an insulated attic to curb heat loss, restored windows to maximize fresh air,and a restored oprch to provide shade and minimize solar heat gain. The original hardwood floors were retained to reduce the accumulation of dust, mold, and the toxic off-gassing of carpets.

Why Renovate an Old Building?

Both green building and historic preservation advocates agree that demolishing historic structures effectively wastes both the natural resources and energy expended to create the building. In fact, many components used to build historic properties represent high levels of embodied energy and offer excellent durability characteristics.