The Seminar hosted by the Preservation Trust and the Historical Commission called, Greening the Historic Home, was definitely worth attending. In addition to a lot of information from the speakers, there were hand-out sheets and resources guides. As versed as I am on historic preservation, it is going to take sometime to absorb all the new materials. The real strength is the practical aspect of the information. One can reach lofty heights in proclaiming the value of historic buildings as being naturally green – this material concentrates on the nuts and bolts and practical steps of making them even more "green".
The biggest theme was, keep it simple before ever thinking of complicated solutions. It’s cheaper too as an approach! The second biggest theme was, don’t apply the same solutions of a modern home to an historic home. They showed some real horror stories that could result. For example, spraying foam into the walls only to find out that moisture has not been kept out – now you have a destructive mold problem! Or, reading the typical energy saving pamphlet and finding out that some of the suggestions can’t be practically done on your house. One step is to insulate your basement walls and they tell you how to do it….except you don’t have a concrete basemet – you have fieldstones! Now what do you do? Or they suggest wall insulation and there is no traditional air gap between the interior and exterior walls as in modern buildings. So what do you do?
I congratulate the two organizations for bringing in some real heavy-hitters: speakers from Mass Historic and Historic New England and even a speaker from the National Trust for Historic Preservation!
As I absorb this material, I will try to relay what I learn and add it to the P.P.’s database.