Historic buildings are inherently sustainable. Constructed with traditional materials and methods historic buildings have minimal carbon impacts. Approximately 11% of global C02 emissions can be attributed to new building materials and construction. Maintaining and rehabilitating existing buildings will extend the life cycle of these materials and reduce the growing carbon impacts of new construction.
With strategic planning that is building and site specific you can assess the existing energy-efficient characteristics of your building and create a treatment plan that will reduce energy loss without compromising the interior air quality safety or structural condition.
Historic buildings were built to last and with maintenance and a few improvements we can reduce the C02 emissions from building use without shortening the life cycle of the existing building.
How can I weatherize my building while protecting its historic character?
Recognize that historic buildings were designed to be efficient when originally constructed, and these same elements continue to contribute to excellent energy efficiency today. Quick and inexpensive retrofits that generally will not impact the historic character of your building include installing storm doors and windows, adding weatherstripping, replacing incandescent light bulbs, replacing old appliances, and adding shade trees to the property. The replacement of windows and addition of insulation are not always the best generalized solutions, so please consult with your historic preservation partners for advice specific to your historic building and budget. Keep in mind there are some dangers in weatherization alterations that can do more harm than good by inadvertently trapping moisture, introducing materials with shorter lifespans, exposing occupants to toxins, damaging the structural integrity of a building, or undermining the inherent efficiencies put in place decades ago. Remember, each historic building is unique and requires individualized solutions for energy efficiency.
Guidance from the State Historic Preservation Office and the Preservation Trust of Vermont:
Additional resources to help guide your sustainability planning:
If you need to comply with the Energy Code (RBES & CBES) and the changes may adversely affect an historic building, please complete the The Historic Buildings Exemption Form and submit to ACCD.firstname.lastname@example.org.