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Energy Efficiency and Historic Properties

Over the past few years, homeowners have become increasingly interested in energy efficiency. Older homes, by their nature, are easily adaptable, and there is so much that a homeowner can do to make their older home more energy efficient. An older home, when properly maintained and upgraded, will last for a very long time, and with high quality and energy efficient upgrades, these houses can be both economical and environmentally sustainable. The following information is provided to help inform homeowners on issues related to energy efficiency for older homes.

74 Ways to Improve your Home's Energy Efficiency

This checklist provides owners of older homes with tips for improving their home's energy efficiency. There are three areas in which homeowners can make energy efficiency gains: 1) operational changes (altering your actions and the way your house operates in order to be more energy efficient); 2) building envelope improvements; 3) upgrading equipment and appliances. Operational changes are the least expensive, while upgrading appliances is the most expensive. When making these changes within your home, it is recommended that you begin with operational changes and then progress to building envelope improvements before considering replacing any equipment or appliances.

Fact or Fiction? Test Your Home Energy Knowledge

This myth/fact sheet presents homeowners with answers to some of the most common questions related to homes and energy efficiency.

Ten Steps to Being Green

In early 2008, the National Trust for Historic Preservation published this Green Home Tips guide. While the greenest home is one that is already built, there is a lot that homeowners can do to make their older home more energy efficient without sacrificing the home's historic integrity.

Getting to Know Your Wood Windows

The National Trust for Historic Preservation published the Window Know-How guide in their second green issue (March/April 2009). This guide assists owners of older and historic properties in caring for their historic wood windows. Windows are a vital component of any historic structure, and if properly maintained, wood windows are remarkably efficient and long-lasting.

How Preservation Creates Sustainable Communities

Conserving and improving existing historic buildings is important in making our built environment greener and ultimately sustainable. The National Trust for Historic Preservation has compiled useful information on their web site for how historic preservation helps create sustainable buildings, and ultimately sustainable neighborhoods and urban environments. The site also provides access to the latest research and policy tools that can support the economic, social, and environmental goals of your community.

Weatherization Guide for Older & Historic Buildings

The National Trust for Historic Preservation states on their web site, "Not since the days of the oil crisis in the 1970's have Americans been so focused on energy consumption, especially weatherization." Older and historic buildings are central to this discussion, as they were often intentionally designed for energy conservation. These structures have been around for decades and can be easily made more energy efficient. Many times, being "green" is promoted by urging people to buy new to replace the old; however, reusing existing materials can often be more energy efficient and sustainable than buying new. It may very well save you money too. The National Trust's Weatherization Guide provides historic property owners with useful information on how they can take steps to improve the energy efficiency of their own building.


For further assistance or additional information, please contact the Planning Division, (803) 545-3222.

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