San Francisco’s architecture has continued to leave a unique imprint in people’s minds when they picture the city’s streets. The city is a magical mecca of many revolutionary American eras that have influenced the city’s culture and upbringing.
Lately, San Franciscans feel that too much is changing and that the city is becoming unrecognizable. The makeup of the city is morphing. The most iconic and recent addition sticks out like a sore thumb–aka The Salesforce Building.
The Salesforce Building, aka the tallest building in San Francisco, can be seen from all across the Bay Area. It is full of incredible features like a water recycling system and the future bullet train to Los Angeles. It’s not alone either. Plenty of new, highly intelligent, and sustainable buildings are popping up all over the Bay Area and in the world. They all have been built with a mission to be environmentally sustainable because tenants are showing a higher interest in being responsible for taking care of the planet.
But, not everything old is out, it’s just being repurposed. The concept of repurposing buildings has been around for a while. However, it’s also become strikingly more popular with tenants.
So what are the benefits of teaching an old building new tricks?
It costs less money
A developer will probably think to construct a new building as a faster and more cost-effective plan. However, not all aspects of “new” are better. According to an article by the 2012 Preservation Green Lab, for every building constructed, the carbon load won’t be paid back for 10-80 years. This is why already constructed buildings are usually deemed more environmentally conscious. Besides what’s more environmentally conscious than giving a building a second and reincarnated life?
While it doesn’t seem like a historical building would be capable of becoming LEED certified, you already know a few of them. The Empire State Building, The Chrysler Building, the Yelp Building (140 New Montgomery)…While you might be picturing a bunch of solar roofed and crazy glass buildings to be LEED certified, it isn’t at all the case. Historic preservation and sustainability are totally possible. One of the main systems that must be replaced is the HVAC and lighting system. Providing better insulation to the building and controlled lighting to provide energy savings will help with achieving LEED status.
Another very cool reason to opt for adaptive reuse is the tax incentives. According to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Historic Tax Credit Program allows program participants to claim 20 percent of eligible improvement expenses against their federal tax liability.
As demand increases for space near cities, there is less space for developments. Adaptive reuse is a solution to the demand for space that while also having the potential to be more sustainable. There is a lot of opportunities to re-gut a building’s interior while still maintaining the character, although very costly.
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