The latest news on New York architecture.

  • Researching Tax Rebates and Incentives in Historical Preservation

    Researching Tax Rebates and Incentives in Historical Preservation

    Federal and state tax credits, deductions, and property easements are designed to encourage property owners to embark on the challenging task of renovating a historic property, allowing it to function well in the modern world while keeping the character and design of the historic original. While there are differences between regions and states, basic rules apply for any historic renovation project that is hoping to qualify for tax credits or easements.

    The property, whether an investment or owner-occupied, needs to be registered or listed as historic, or be located within a historic district. These are national designations as well as state, but state historic preservation offices manage the listings. Your state historic preservation office web site is the first stop for research.

    Most of the tax credits and deductions are for renovation expenses, and there are usually upper and lower limits for renovation expenses. In many areas, materials and design need to conform to historic or neighborhood standards. For investment properties, there is also the need for planned access and adaptive use so the building can be accessed by multi-abled people.

    A general rule of thumb is that investment properties can qualify for federal tax credits on renovation costs, while owner-occupied buildings can qualify for state credits and deductions. There is significant overlap, though. Both state and regional historic preservation offices may have a resource person who is responsible for changes in the laws and regulations, as well as grants and other funding opportunities.

    Easements mean that the property owner signs away some property rights, in order to keep the property in a certain state. Many environmental easements are bringing agricultural or developed land back into wildlife corridors, for example. Property easements in historic districts or with historic properties means that the homeowner agrees in perpetuity to keep the nature and style of a property meeting historical standards. In some communities, these types of property easements can increase tax deductions and decrease both estate and property taxes.

    Architects who work in historic preservation and adaptive reuse are going to be most familiar with the wide range of tax incentives, property easements, or other credit programs from the federal and state governments, and grant programs from community organizations.

    Can we help you with an adaptive reuse or historic preservation project?

    Please contact us for more information.

    Read more...
  • New York City's Renewable Roof Design

    New York City's Renewable Roof Design

    As part of the 2015 State Energy Plan, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo mandated that by 2030, 50 percent of the state's power shall come from renewable sources, such as wind, solar, and hydroelectric. Cuomo's mandate echoes a similar policy in Germany, a nation that has implemented renewable policies and has gotten as much as 85% of the nation's energy from renewable sources. 

    New York City is poised to be a leader in such initiatives. The opportunities to source renewable solar energy on the rooftops of New York City's buildings is immense. According to the Encyclopedia of New York City, the borough of Manhattan alone is estimated to have about 60,000 unique buildings. 

    Solar panels and green spaces help a building owner comply with the Mayor's Office of Sustainability Benchmarking Law, which requires owners of large buildings to submit an annual energy usage report through the US EPA online tool. 

    Rooftop design is a cost effective and practical way for a business to achieve the benchmarks, in addition to receiving tax incentives and rebates. A well-designed green roof can improve overall air quality, increase property values, and reduce storm water run-off. A professional architect's expertise ensures a business not only complies with local sustainability measures, but also improves the property value for future owners, while maximizing the tax benefits for today's owner. 

    Rooftop gardens offer several benefits, including temperature regulation, pollution control, and local vegetation. Solar panels provide additional benefits, including tremendous local incentives that encourage use of solar collection. An online calculator helps the business owner research the savings and benefits by location. 

    Utilizing the opportunities provided through sustainable roof design in NYC, companies that adapt have the chance to earn LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. LEED certified buildings qualify for additional benefits and incentives, including cost-effective utilities, less impact on the environment, and international recognition as an environmental leader.   

    To learn more about adding a renewable roof design to your building, contact Scott Henson Architect.

    Read more...