Preservation magazine, the publication for the National Trust For Historic Preservation, has 10 green tips for an eco-friendly home based around the notion that "the greenest house is the house already built." Here are some that you may not have thought of or known about:
- Keep original windows intact.
Studies show that older windows can perform as well as vinyl replacements. Weatherstrip them so that they seal tightly, caulk the exterior trim, and repair cracked glazing or putting around glass panels. You'll reduce landfill waste and the demand for vinyl, a nonbiodegradable material that gives off toxic byproducts when it's made.
- Plant trees.
Evergreen trees on the north and west sides of your house can block Winter winds, and leafy trees on the south and west provide shade from the Summer sun. Using old photos of your house, try to match the historic landscaping.
- Restore porches and awnings.
Porches, awnings, and shutters were intended for shade and insulation. To save energy, draw shades on Winter nights and Summer days.