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"Greening" a historic home.


Michaelskis's Avatar
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Join Date: Apr 2008
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MI

11-25-08, 01:47 PM   #1  
"Greening" a historic home.

My wife and I live in a 120 year old Victorian located within a nationally recognized historic district. Because of local and state regulations, there are a some common ‘green’ things that we cannot do. These include replacing windows with double pane vinyl aftermarket, or using composite decking.

I am looking for ideas on how to green as much as possible, without changing the look of the outside.

Thus far, the walls have been insulated with a blown celliouse made from recycled newspaper, changed out all lights to CFL’s, installed programmable thermostats for the two furnaces (One for downstairs and one for up), and painted the interior with a low VOC paint. We also put down two layers of R-20 insulation blanket on top of the blown insulation in the attic, weather striped all the windows and doors, and even installed low flow facets in the bathroom.

What other ideas do you have on things that we could do to Green our Old House?

 
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Concretemasonry's Avatar
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11-25-08, 02:32 PM   #2  
"Greening" a historic home.

You have probably done all the "proper" things to make it "green". There other major items but they cannot be cost justified and will not make a real difference.

Since you have chosen a Victorian house in a historic area, your exterior options are limited ouside of painting it some shade of green.

One other thing that do some good is to write Al Gore and ask him to cut down on the electric use in his leaky mansion and tell Pelosi to quite complaining that the plane she gets to use is not large enough and is still bigger than her predecessors. - The go down and volunteer at a recycling plant or food shelf.

 
twelvepole's Avatar
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11-25-08, 03:46 PM   #3  
Greening of exterior of historic homes can be challenging. This requires renovation. While not impossible, it is encouraged so long as the features don't detract from the historical character of the building and meet the approval of the local historic commission. Many homes built before air conditioning and heating, were built to maximize heat and light by utilizing thick masonry walls and natural building materials.

While many prefer the vinyl-framed windows to prevent heat loss, wood-framed windows retain the historic character of a home. Windows are not the culprit for major heat loss. The main culprit is heat loss through the attic, which is corrected with proper insulation.

Solar panels on sections of roof not visible from the street, are frequently approved by historic commissions. Renewable energy is encouraged.

For info from the National Trust for Historic Preservation:

Historic Preservation & Sustainability

 
Michaelskis's Avatar
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11-26-08, 11:11 AM   #4  
Posted By: Concretemasonry
One other thing that do some good is to write Al Gore and ask him to cut down on the electric use in his leaky mansion and tell Pelosi to quite complaining that the plane she gets to use is not large enough and is still bigger than her predecessors. -
I like the way you think!

For me, Green saves me money and improves indoor air quality. If I use less gas, water, and eclectic, I save money. Oh it might help with the environment too.

As for the exterior, I will be painting it a tan color next spring.

 
blackstone's Avatar
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11-30-08, 02:58 PM   #5  
We've painted a lot of "heritage homes"... here's some advice:

1- Convert your trim to acrylic enamel - you don't need to paint with oil or alkyd based paints anymore... just give a decent sand, apply a good latex primer and topcoat with a waterbased enamel. You'll never have to use oil-based paint again

2- Paint your exterior with latex paint or stain - just make sure to use a high quality latex based primer wherever there is bare wood exposed

In a large house, there is a LOT of painted finishes. This means there is a huge potential to "Green" up your home by applying low VOC waterborne finishes throughout!!


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