The Bloomington (IN) Herald-Times featured an article yesterday about greening older homes. It's great to see that the same historic preservationists that have kept so many of our treasured older buildings from being destroyed are now incorporating energy efficient practices into their work.
Since its inception in 1993 publicity around the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has largely focused on new construction, in an attempt to stop shoddy and energy-wasting building practices before they begin. But the USGBC hasn't totally ignored the greening of existing homes.
The USGBC recently joined forces with the American Society of Interior Designers’ (ASID) Foundation to create REGREEN, which provides best
practice guidelines and targeted educational resources for sustainable
residential improvement projects. On the REGREEN website you'll find terrific resources and case studies to help guide renovation efforts, including a Deep Energy Retrofit Case Study.
Many older homes can be made energy-efficient and, if the house is not completely ruined, this is always preferable to tearing down an existing home and replacing it with a new one. Preservationists might want to have a look at the deep green renovation of a 1915 Craftsman bungalow recently completed by the founder of USGBC, David Gottfried, whose home is rated LEED Platinum.
In the same spirit, LEED for Homes awards additional rating points for building a new house where another house once stood, and building it near essential services to minimize driving.
The building of our own green home was greatly enhanced because we chose to work with a seasoned contractor with a long history of restoring older homes, the Golden Hands Construction company, owned by Chris Sturbaum. In short, preservationists and green builders/renovators are on the same team, and are beginning to work together. That's good news for all of us.