Energy Efficiency in Historic Homes

May/June 2005
A version of this article appears in the May/June 2005 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
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May 01, 2005
There are a few hurdles to overcome in retrofitting historic homes, such as staying out of the way of visitors, but the effort can lead to greater energy efficiency, greater comfort, and better protection for precious artifacts.
        Reducing the amount of energy used in historic homes has two big benefits. First, it can help government agencies or private conservators to stretch tight budgets. Second, and almost as important, the efficiency improvements may extend the lives of important historic properties and can help to maintain a better indoor environment for the artifacts housed within them. The Road to Galena         Visitors to a historic home probably don’t think first about saving energy. Yet that was the first thought on the mind of a team who visited three historic homes in Galena, Illinois, in the early summer of 2003. The Illinois state energy office, which is housed within the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, working with the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, wanted to learn whether the tools and methods of home energy ratings were applicable to historic buildings. Two years earlier, these tools and methods had been successfully applied to older homes in Quincy, a historic Illinois community along the Mississippi River. Now John Marley of the Illinois energy office wanted to see what energy rating could offer in state-owned historic homes.      &...

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