We are all aware of the lesson learned by judging books by their covers aren’t we? Well, this notion also applies to historic and listed buildings – just because they are old and different looking, doesn’t mean they are not worth saving. In fact, this could not be further from the truth. Older buildings contribute to a community’s unique flavour and are a link to a community’s tangible past.
If a building is listed, it marks and celebrates a building’s special architectural and historic interest. The older a building is, and the fewer the surviving examples of its kind, the more likely it is to be on ‘the list’. A listed building will also come under the care of the planning system, so that its protection will be ensured for generations to come. There are many reasons to preserve older buildings, let’s explore a few of the most prominent…
They hold intrinsic value
Buildings of old tend to be built with higher-quality materials such as rare hardwood and wood from primary forests that no longer exist. Older buildings would also have been built by different standards which may make a century-old building more appealing in the long-term than its modern-day equivalents. The intrinsic value held by older buildings are often stand out features within towns and cities and serve as a reminder of the city’shistorical roots.
Restoring old buildings has less environmental impact
Reusing and restoring old buildings almost always has less environmental impact than building new ones. The destruction of buildings result in a large amount of waste from concrete, metals, glass, plastics, wood, asphalt, and bricks etc. This waste is often disposed of in either landfills or incinerators, polluting the land and air. Plus, the transportation required to remove the waste impacts on the environment too. In fact, the UK’s biggest consumer of natural resources is the construction industry, according to a study by WRAP, the construction sector uses 400 million tonnes of material every year, which results in 100 million tonnes of waste being produced (a third of the UK’s total yearly waste amount) with 25 million tonnes of construction waste making its way to landfill.
The UK construction industry has come a long way with its recycling and reuse practices, but there is still a long way to go. The key to this will be material efficiency, and with many old buildings boasting sustainable features, re-using, and restoring will undoubtedly have less of an impact on our environment than demolishing and building from scratch.
Listed buildings attract people
The intrinsic value held by older buildings are often preferred by new businesses for their ability to attract people in.The unique elements of older buildings is what make them more interesting and appealing. It might be the materials used; old brick en masse or some unusually placed marble, it might be its historic roots, or an intricately decorated corner that is found intriguing. Whatever, the ‘X’ factor is, older architecture tends to have it and makes older buildings stand out to become the talk of the town. They are often snapped up by new businesses to fulfil new uses but with the aim to retain their magnetism within the community.
Historic buildings within a community not only add to the aesthetics and cultural values of the area, they also have a kinder impact on the environment and attract more people to the area. Preserving them is beneficial not only for a community’s culture and heritage, but also for its local economy. If you own a listed building be sure to check out how we can help you retrofit windows with double glazing, whilst preserving the character of your home and adhering to planning guidelines.