Generally speaking, recycling, reuse consumes much less energy, because products are not entirely reprocessed. Construction process inputs a lot of human and natural resources. According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), 26% of CO2 emission come from buildings. So if we can reduce CO2 emission from built environment, it should be great helpful to reduce carbon foot print.
One of the way to reuse existing building is retrofit. “Federal Historic Tax Credit” is one of the policy to spur retrofit existing building supporting tax credits for investors. This program, administered jointly by the US Department of the Interior and the Department of the Treasury. The qualification for the historic buildings, building need to meet as “certified historic structures” defined as : buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places, or buildings that contribute to a National Register Historic District or another qualifying local historic district. If building meets this qualification, they can get 20% of tax credits of the “qualified expenditures” in the renovation of certified historic structures.
Also, to qualify for the Historic Tax Credit, building must be depreciable, so it must be income producing. And owner that claims the Historic Tax Credits must retain ownership of the property for at least five years after the date the project was placed in service.
If building is not registered on the National Register of Historic Place, building owner can get 10% rehabilitation tax credit if it service before 1936. Furthermore, project undertaken for the 10% credit must meet a specific physical test for retention of external walls and internal structural frame work.
20% and 10% of the tax credits of the development hard cost is not a small portion of the project financing. While the Historic Tax Credits program has been very prominent in other parts of the US cities, it have not been played a major role in Seattle area. This is because rules and process are complicated so the program does not well-suited to some of the project or development scenario.
To enhance Historic Tax Credit program, government should reduce some of the complicated process during the entitlement, and relieve physical test regulations to get this tax credit.
 Carbon Efficient City, A-P Hurd, page. 65