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Casa Verde: Greening Old Homes

Richard Moe, the president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, recently wrote an article for The New York Times, This Old Wasteful House, outlining the benefits of greening old homes instead of building newer homes.

In the article, he asserts:

Never before has America had so many compelling reasons to preserve the homes in its older residential neighborhoods. We need to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions. We want to create jobs, and revitalize the neighborhoods where millions of Americans live. All of this could be accomplished by making older homes more energy-efficient.

To hear more of Moe's recommendations and facts concerning preserving these homes,


  • Homes built before or by 1939 use approximately 50 percent more energy per square foot than homes constructed in 2000. However, by improving the energy efficiency of these older homes, they can perform just as well as new homes.
  • Homeowners should request an energy audit by a local utility. These audits are either free or low-cost.
  • Home energy audits will help homeowners learn where their home needs to be retrofitted, and will make these decisions cost-effective.
  • Energy loss is usually due to a lack of insulation in attics and basements. Insulate these areas first.
  • Seal other air leaks. Try installing dryer vent seals, fireplace draft stoppers, and attic door covers.


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