Preserving New York’s Historic Architecture

Architectural restoration underway at the Fleming Smith Warehouse in New York City. Photo: Joseph Polowczuk

New York City is full of aging buildings that have suffered the vagaries of time, erosion and gravity. Many of these structures have historical significance and/or are on Landmarked or National Register sites which has spurred a flurry of architectural preservation, restoration and evaluation of historic architecture. Preservation efforts — from restoration (a process that retains and repairs materials from the most significant time in a property’s history) to localized repairs, which might include improving water tightness around the building has become a booming business. The challenge of blending old and new architecture to ensure that the historic integrity of an old building is maintained has become an art form.

PACE Spurs Building Upgrades for Energy Savings

Now there's financing available to cut energy waste in buildings of all types and sizes.

PACE, which stands for Property Assessed Clean Energy, is a simple and effective mechanism for financing energy-efficiency retrofits and renewable energy upgrades that might not otherwise be affordable for commercial, residential, industrial, and agricultural buildings. PACE financing overcomes the upfront cost barrier these upgrades can pose by providing 100% of the financing for such projects. The financing is paid back via property tax assessments that can stretch as long as 20 years. In most instances, the related energy savings more than pay for the assessment. Through the use of innovative PACE funding, new energy-efficient heating and cooling systems, insulation, solar and lighting improvements can be immediately rendered cash flow positive. PACE funding has soared, as owners recognize the opportunity to increase their bottom line by reducing energy costs, to enhance the value of their property and do their part to offset greenhouse gas emissions. Since three quarters of the electricity generated in America is used to heat, cool, illuminate, and otherwise operate buildings, it’s not surprising that Scientific American magazine named PACE one of 20 “world changing” ideas.

Can Green Buildings Make Us Smarter?

Green is good -- outside or inside an occupied building.

A recent study published by Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP) suggests that Green Buildings create optimized conditions for health and productivity. In a series of experiments, indoor environmental quality (IEQ) factors for both “green” and “conventional” buildings were simulated in a controlled environment that included office workers, and the researchers measured variables such as carbon dioxide variation, ventilation and exposure to volatile organic compounds in the building atmosphere. The results? On average, cognitive scores for the two groups of workers were 61% higher for those working in a building with green features than with conventional construction.  In other words, green building can potentially deliver a smarter workforce.

The challenges of building restoration

Applying some stucco on your aging walls today is huge step in restoring their look, but can also be the difference of whether you'll continue maintaining it or have to do outright repairs.

Taking care of a building requires a great deal of foresight and initiative. Applying some stucco on your aging walls today is huge step in restoring their look, but can also be the difference in whether you’ll continue maintaining it or have to do outright repairs. Choosing to invest this way means you are consolidating the shape of your build today and saving money tomorrow.

Most news about building progress tends to happen when the projects are either newly-unveiled, finished renovations or they’re just in a state of disrepair. For that reason, there isn’t always a spotlight focused on successful restoration projects, where an issue was fixed before it led to a costly complication. Here are some recent restoration projects where builders benefitted from Sto’s reStore process.