Energy Efficiency for Old Homes versus New
Making your home more energy efficient isn’t limited to new constructions. This mentality is showing up more and more in property listings on the Point2 Homes real estate portal, as “Energy Star” and “LEED” are becoming common keywords. It may take a little more effort and ingenuity to blend new technology seamlessly into an old house, but it can be done. Many homes that have been around for decades deserve to keep their unmistakable charm, while also offering their inhabitants the latest advances in energy conservation tech and materials.
Looking through over 1.6 million listings across America, we found two gorgeous examples of older homes which have been updated with excellent eco-conscious technology. The combination of history, recent renovation, and energy efficiency has firmly placed these homes in the luxury segment, so we decided to compare them to newer homes, built from the ground up with green principles in mind. Can the old homes stand up to the new?
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19th Century Farmhouse – 21st Century Technology
This unusual house in Fairfield, CT went through a substantial overhaul in 2010. Most of the improvements made were designed to bring the dwelling up to date in terms of energy efficiency, thus earning it a HOBI Award and an Energy Star certification.
While still preserving its old-world aesthetics, the house is now equipped with geo-thermal heating, foam insulation, 2 tankless water heaters, Energy Recovery Ventilation and a generator. It is also a very large house (6,689 sq. ft.), one of the top examples of luxury real estate in Fairfield CT, which makes the great energy efficiency all the more important and commendable.
Built in the 40s, Remodeled for the Future
This luxurious California home retains much of its old-Hollywood character, but it has been fitted with features which greatly increase its eco-friendliness. From the solar-powered gate, to the Energy Star windows and glass doors, as well as L.E.D. lighting throughout, the home has been updated to 21st Century standards of conservation.
Modernize’s own Solar Panel Cost Calculator suggests that this house could certainly benefit from being fitted out with solar panels, as it is exposed to a great deal of sunshine throughout the year, and such a system could reduce electricity costs 4 times over.
Old-World Styling, Modern Mentality
The architectural features of this Michigan mansion obviously have a European aesthetic to them, with arches alluding to traditional Austrian and German houses. This effect is only strengthened by the fairy-tale location of the house. But don’t be fooled – the mansion was built in 2007, and is a truly modern, eco-conscious and energy efficient home.
Equipped with geo-thermal heating and cooling systems, Anderson 400 windows for optimal temperature control, R25 insulated concrete along the basement, R26 exterior walls and R52 insulating roof panels, this home is a fortress of energy efficiency.
It’s difficult for an older home to compete with such an ambitious ground-up design, in which even the foundation is made to insulate better. This home has been the 1st LEED Platinum certified house in Michigan, and the 12th in the US.
Award Winning Design, Excellent Efficiency
Old homes may have a delectable charm about them, but sometimes modern design just works better with modern materials. One example of this synergy is this Florida home, built in 2015, and winner of multiple design accolades, including the 2015 Central Florida Green Builders Project of the Year.
One extraordinary feature this home offers is an electric car charging station, which is sure to be a rare feature for any older home one might look at. But the green features don’t stop there – with the Energy Star indoor air package, windows and appliances, this house has a HERS index of 61.
Even though modern houses built from the ground up with energy efficiency in mind have an advantage, advances in materials and growing availability of options make it so that owners of decades-old homes can aspire to similar levels of efficiency, as these examples show.
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