WE Gets It

Posted on: December 17th, 2008 by Patrice Frey 2 Comments

"Most people see an old building. I see my next job. If we made these old places use less energy, we could save money and boost the economy." -- wecansolveit.org ad

Think creating "green jobs" means building solar panels and wind mills? Or new green buildings? Sure -- but that's not all. Check out this ad from WE (Al Gore's organization), which talks about how greening older buildings creates jobs and saves the environment. We at the National Trust for Historic Preservation couldn't have said it any better.

Consider these facts about why rehabbing (and greening!) historic buildings is a better job generator than new construction:

Rehabilitation generally uses about 20 percent more labor and, in turn, produces a greater number of jobs than new construction. As compared to new construction, every $1 million spent to rehabilitate a building results in:

  • Five to nine more construction jobs created;
  • An average of 4.7 more new permanent jobs created.

Furthermore, with preservation-based activities household incomes in the community increase by $107 more than through new construction. Retail sales in the community increasing by $142,000 – $34,000 more than through new construction.

And rehabbing our older and historic buildings to be more energy efficient offers two major environmental benefits. First, it directly reduces the energy needed to operate our buildings. Second, when we retrofit our existing buildings rather that constructing anew, we avoid the negative environmental impacts associated with new construction -- e.g. all that carbon that we send up into the atmosphere when we extract resources from the earth's surface and turn them into building materials.

Learn more about our sustainability initiative.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.


2 Responses

  1. Concerned

    December 17, 2008

    Uh, notice how a new window flashes by when the narrator talks about making older buildings more energy efficient?

    The video falls right into the trap where people think yanking out all the old windows in a building and putting in new windows reaps huge energy savings. The reality is that in many cases, the new window may never recoup even the energy that went into its own manufacture.

    Mr. Moe, where are you when we need you?

  2. jenni

    February 4, 2009

    Overall the message is good however I do agree about the windows. There NEEDS to be more info out there about the benefits of old windows. The energy and natural resources costs in making new windows vs energy saved.