Weatherizing older homes

Salida is fortunate to have many turn of the 20th Century homes. These homes have unique architecture, charming facades, and too often, cold drafts and high energy bills.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation has launched a new online guide offering homeowners a one-stop resource with the latest information about how to make their home more energy efficient and comfortable. They offer tips on how to accomplish this without spending a lot of money or compromising the historic character of the home.

The guide can be found online at www.preservationnation.org/issues/weatherization/. The Weatherization Guide offers links to over 200 resources, web sites, articles, reports, case studies, and do-it-yourself checklists.

The interactive guide was developed in response to the growing interest in weatherization and energy conservation. There is a lot of information – not all correct – out there about weatherization. Some policies and statements, including by the U.S. Department of Energy, actually favor replacing old windows despite studies that show original windows can perform as well as, if not better, than replacements.

Being green does not and should not have to translate into buying new and throwing out the old. Remember the saying ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’? It should be followed in that order.

The new interactive guide helps homeowners learn how they can cost-effectively make their older or historic home even more energy efficient. It explains how this can be done without jeopardizing the distinctive character of the home.

Older and historic homes are inherently designed for energy conservation – from deep porches and wide roof overhangs, to thick walls and windows strategically placed to help circulate air. These features help by both blocking heat gain and preventing heat loss.

Historic Salida, Inc and the City held a workshop last winter to provide education for both owners and tradespeople about the proper techniques for maintenance of buildings in the historic downtown. Information from this workshop can be found on the Historic Preservation Commission’s webpage on the City’s website: www.cityofsalida.com.

The Historic Preservation Commission is planning another workshop for the morning of January 9, 2010 at the Salida SteamPlant. This workshop will focus on the economic benefits of preservation including examples from our community. More information about this workshop will be forthcoming.

If you would like to learn more about historic preservation or effective solutions for older structures please come to a meeting of the Historic Preservation Commission or contact City Hall. Together we can ensure that our historic resources continue to thrive in the 21st Century.