All of the following information is from Jay Fulkerson, Historic Preservation: The Ultimate Recycling
Local Economic Benefits
Since so much of building construction is decided from an economic standpoint, it is interesting to note that when we preserve a building, the community is renewed economically at a higher level than with new construction. If a community chooses to spend one million dollars on rehabilitation rather than new construction, all of the following statements are true:
- $ 120,000 more will initially stay in the local community.
- Five to nine more construction jobs will be created than with new construction.
- 4.7 more new jobs will be created elsewhere in the community, than with new construction.
- Retail sales in the community will increase $ 34,000 more than with new construction.
- Real estate companies, lending institutions, personal service vendors, and eating and drinking establishments all receive more monetary benefit.
With preservation projects, more money is returned to the local economy in the form of wages, rather than being spent for materials manufactured elsewhere in the United States and the world. Massive quantities of energy, as well as farmlands and forests, are saved, here and abroad.
The construction industry accounts for 11% of total energy consumption in the United States and 85% of that energy usage is in transportation of new materials to the site. Building construction consumes 40% of the raw materials annually entering the global market. Restoration of an existing structure does not require anything near the quantity of raw and finished material or transportation and construction energy consumed in the creation of new structures. Concurrently, restoration preserves the energy and cultural heritage embodied in the existing structure. New construction is highly waste generative, particularly if coupled with a demolition. Demolition of historic structures is doubly irresponsible from an environmental perspective; in addition to forfeiting energy and material already embodied in the structure and adding to the burden of our landfills, the resources necessary for demolition are considerable given the quality and strength of many older structures.