When most people think about sustainability, they usually think a “sustainable builder” has to specialize in building new, modern-looking homes. What’s interesting is that sustainability has long been a core principle in the preservation of older homes.
Jean Carroon, chair of the AIA’s Historic Resources Committee and author of Sustainable Preservation: Greening Existing Buildings, points out that the preservation community has always been “a kind of frontline protest against needless waste and our throwaway culture.” She also points out that a lot of homes built between 1960 and 1990 are incredibly efficient.
If you have one of these older homes, a sustainable building approach can take preservation to the next level by making reuse and energy savings a priority while keeping your home’s character intact.
Let me give you an example with windows. Energy Star, LEED and other certification programs emphasize window replacement, even in historic homes. While this is certainly an option, a sustainable builder might offer another alternative. You could, for example, install an interior storm window behind the historic window. This would save energy, save the historic integrity of the home, and save the environmental impact of having the old windows junked in a landfill.
We believe that sustainability is all about getting creative so that homeowners can enjoy beautiful, comfortable, energy-efficient homes … and so we can create these homes so they have a minimal impact on the environment when they’re being built, and for decades afterward. And remember, homes built with sustainable building practices don’t have to just look “modern!” Take a look at our photo gallery.