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Owning a piece of history in the form of a 19th-century home is an incredible way to make history come alive every day. Though the beauty of the architecture of these classic homes can't be matched, that beauty often comes at the price of high utility bills. Though these homes were efficient in their time, the effects of aging have rendered them fairly energy-inefficient. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to improve the energy-efficiency of your 19th-century home, thus lowering your energy costs. Seal the Gaps One of the biggest areas of energy loss from older homes occurs through the cracks and gaps that form in the home as it settles over the decades. Though this is something you have to deal with in a home of any age, it's especially pronounced in historic homes. It's a good idea to conduct an energy audit of your home to find specific areas where the air inside your home is leaking outside and the air outside your home is leaking in. Filling these gaps and cracks with appropriate materials will greatly increase your home's energy-efficiency. Replace the Windows Though older homes were built with many energy-efficient features that were often better-planned than today's homes, one feature that has vastly improved on today's homes is the windows. Many older homes have single-glazed windows, meaning just one pane of glass stands between the interior of your home and the unconditioned air outside. By replacing your windows with new energy-efficient windows, therefore, you're likely to see a big drop in energy consumption. Plus, many new windows come with UV protection built-in, which can protect the historic furniture and finishes in your home. Replace the Doors Though there's nothing quite like the beauty of an antique door, that doesn't mean it's the best option to keep your energy costs under control. Especially if one or more doors in your home are suffering from rot or some type of termite damage, replacing your doors with new Andersen doors is a great way to save some cash. In addition to being more energy-efficient, new doors tend to be more secure, as their frames are better-reinforced and their construction more focused on potential points of entry. Wrap the Pipes If you've ever been into the basement of your 19th-century home only to be amazed at the network of pipes carrying water throughout your home, it's important to know that these exposed pipes are costing you money. Exposed pipes sitting in uninsulated spaces, especially those carrying hot water, are quick to lose their temperature as they travel through a cold basement. On the other hand, cold water pipes are at risk of freezing if you don't have some form of heat in your basement. Do yourself a favor, then, and wrap all your pipes. This will lessen the work your water heater has to do and prevent any messy burst pipes in your basement. Whether you've lived in your 19th-century home for some time or if you're new to historic-home living, it can seem as though your to-do list is never-ending as you seek to make improvements to your home. By understanding which changes will have the biggest return on investment, though, you can begin to do the work that will transform your home into what you always envisioned. Then, though it may still be far off, the finish line will draw that much closer.
James Helliwell posted a blog entry in Keep It Green in Your HomeOver the past decade, people have gone from freely using resources to eventually coming to the realization that it is critical to work to conserve resources. With more and more information about the planet's dwindling resources and the increasingly frightening findings about the effects of climate change, most eco-conscious people commit to working toward finding new ways to make their property more environmentally friendly. “As you look around your own property, trying to think of ways to make a meaningful contribution to protecting the planet and trying to help its recovery, you will find plenty of ways to pitch in on the efforts while adding value to your property. Take a look at some of the ways we believe create a win for you and the planet.” - Brentwood Home - Natural Home Suppliers Wrap It All Up With Insulation One of the most effective, and often overlooked, improvements you can make to an aging home is to either add or replace insulation in your home. Don't forget to address window insulation issues by changing their insulation to double glazing. Take care of areas that feature wall and cavity loft space, which is where the outer wall is made of block or brick while the interior wall features concrete block or breeze block. When you fully insulate your home, you will reduce your winter heating bill, therefore reducing your yearly costs and helping reduce your energy usage. As a bonus, home buyers like you will appreciate buying a home that features quality insulation. Harness the Sun's Power With Solar Energy While a more initial expensive entry in our list, solar power pays off in less obvious ways at first, and it definitely pays off over time. Install solar panels on your home's roof to attract the sun's energy, capture it and use it for our property's individual energy supply. You will love the immediate energy savings while boosting your property value for future home buyers. An added bonus for installing solar panels includes, depending on your state, potential solar rebates and tax credits. It's Raining, It's Pouring, So Catch That Essential Resource and Use It If you live in a climate outside of the desert, chances are good that you see plenty of rainfall each year. You hear it streaming through your home's gutters, which flows away, not making any real impact. For a small cost, you can install water catchers to capture and rainwater, which you can store for later use in your garden or flowerbed, or you can simply use it to water houseplants. This small addition provides solid savings and is a wonderful feature future home buyers will appreciate.
While most people believe that thinking green has to do something with things that are far away geographically, a constantly growing part of the general populace is starting to realize that this just isn’t true. I mean, we have all noticed how the weather is changing year in, year out, and more and more information about lost species, eco catastrophes, our general disregard for the environment, and how this impacts our daily lives keep emerging. This naturally leads people to reevaluate the state in which their homes are, and this is the most logical place to start. Still, a lot of people do not do the necessary research when they attempt to make their home greener. We are here to help you get your facts straight. Choosing the Right Materials The importance of this is two-fold! First of all, some materials that are generally used by construction teams are not good for human health as well as the environment. The prime example of this are paints, adhesives and other things that contain a high level of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Materials containing VOCs cause air pollution, smog and can be quite destructive for human health. This isn’t the only example of poor material choice when it comes green construction and you should research them before you start the project. It is also a very good to use recycled material wherever possible. A lot of people perceive getting recycled construction materials as going to the junkyard to scavenge through the waste. This is very far from the truth. Recycled materials come with proper specification and you can always contact manufacturers if you need to make any further inquiries. Getting Professional Help While you might have the best intentions at heart, you might not be qualified enough to come up with and lead a green renovation project all by yourself. This is why you should rely on professional help in order to get things done properly. You need to ensure that you builders are properly licensed to handle this kind of work, and that they adhere to proper procedures that minimize the damage done to the immediate and global environment. Being that Green building has grown to be somewhat a trend (and about time it did), there will be a lot of contractors out there who will claim that they can pull off the whole thing, but I wouldn’t go that far without a licensing confirmation. Managing Waste and Pollution What’s tricky about green construction is that you need to make sure that the end result, as well as the process, is green and safe. It just doesn’t make sense to have one without the other. Before you start, you should consult your builders about the right amount of material you should order, and when to order. Excess material is usually the material wasted, and this is something you are attempting to avoid by going Green, right? Throughout the entire thing, you need to ensure that you reuse all the materials that can be reused. You should also separate the waste properly, and take it to the right recycling and/or disposal locations. This is a complex matter, and if you really want to build green, you need to get into the thick of things, and act from a position of knowledge. Energy Efficiency This is where planning really gets into the forefront and shines. Logistics, electricity management, the choice of appliances and so on, are all very important aspects of being energy efficient during construction. This requires a team of builders that are aware of these issues, and capable of following the rules of the best practices proposed by the authorities in your area. Don’t let all of these things discourage you. Sure, they require more effort, but ultimately, building Green is something that saves you money. The Green philosophy is about being economical with resources, and this is something that you need to keep in mind. There are tons of factors to consider, but the benefits are more than apparent. Cheaper construction, faster construction, a clean site and building as an end result, along with a cleaner and healthier environment - what more could you ask for?