In the construction of new homes, building for optimum energy efficiency is often a high priority. What about those of us who live in an older historic home? These homes were built before any of the more modern energy saving innovations. Is there no way to be energy conscious in these types of homes then?
The truth is that many older homes were built to be energy efficient, to some degree, more so than even new homes. How is that? Let’s look at a few of these ways:
Historic homes were often constructed using brick or masonry. Heavy-duty materials like this are usually very thick, so walls constructed in this way are good at retaining heat.
Modern homes today are frequently built with more windows than is needed, for aesthetic purposes. Historic homes were usually designed with windows which were positioned for maximum light efficiency and good ventilation. They also frequently have shutters or places for curtains and drapes which is ideal insulation. These all contribute to better energy efficiency
Exteriors of older homes were painted with lighter colors in hotter areas of the country, in order to reflect the hot sun. This helps to make the interiors cooler.
Historic homes that were constructed in hotter parts of the country also contain features such as porches, exterior balconies, wide roof overhangs and well positioned trees good for shade.
We can see from this brief consideration, that if you have the joy of living in a historic home, it doesn’t mean we can’t be energy conscious. In fact we may have been more than we thought. Are there even more ways we can adapt this type of home for even better energy savings? We will consider this in our next article.