Can Older Houses be Energy Efficient?

We don't need to build new energy efficient homes as much as we need to refurbish the existing housing stock to make it more energy efficient, writes Richard Moe of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
April 7, 2009, 7am PDT | Michael Dudley
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"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.

Older homes are particularly wasteful: Homes built in 1939 or before use around 50 percent more energy per square foot than those constructed in 2000. But with significant improvements and retrofits, these structures could perform on a par with newer homes.

Experience has shown that virtually any older or historic house can become more energy-efficient without losing its character. The labor-intensive process of rehabilitating older buildings would also create jobs, and this labor can't be shipped overseas. The wages would stay in the community, supporting local businesses and significantly increasing household incomes - just the kind of boost the American economy needs right now."

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Published on Sunday, April 5, 2009 in New York Times
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