Energy Efficiency for Historic Homes
When done correctly, older and historic homes can achieve greater energy efficiency in a way that is sensitive to their unique, original materials. Our weatherization guide has all the answers on how to make your older building more energy efficient without breaking the bank!
What is weatherization?
Weatherization can reduce heating bills by 32% and save $358 per year.
–U.S. Department of Energy
Weatherization is the practice of protecting a building and its interior from the elements, while modifying it to reduce energy consumption and optimize efficiency.
You can save money on utility costs, have a more comfortable home and decrease your impact on the environment — all by weatherizing your house. Weatherization also reduces drafts, keeps surfaces warmer and balances air circulation with air heating, making for a cozier home. A tighter home with good ventilation also provides better indoor air quality.
Renovating for energy efficiency
How can I weatherize my historic building?
Older and historic buildings are often inherently designed for energy conservation and to respond to different regional environments. Overhanging roofs, porches, awnings, and shutters can provide insulation, while thick walls offer thermal mass and buffering. Large, operable windows provide natural light and promote air circulation, while mature landscaping provides a barrier from the cold. These features are built-in bonuses of older and historic buildings. All you have to do is recognize and protect them.
- Conduct an audit
- Add storm windows
- Insulate the attic
- Assess the roof
- Check your systems
- Keep existing windows instead of replacing them
- Seal out drafts
- Use caulk
- Use window treatments
Are there any financial incentives for weatherizing?
Increasing your home’s energy efficiency does not have to break the bank. There are a variety of incentives available for weatherization and/or rehabilitation projects. Check DSIRE (the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency) for a complete list of federal, state and local incentives for renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency improvements. This guidefrom the National Trust for Historic Preservation answers many frequently asked questions about the different programs available to help with weatherization.
Where can I get more information?
For a comprehensive guide to weatherizing, visit the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Weatherization Guide. There you will find more information about roofing, windows, insulation and mechanical systems, as well as a list of links to more helpful sites.