Staying Warm in Your Old House

An Energy Conservation Workshop
Saturday, Feb 27, 10:30 am
Anacortes Public Library Meeting Room

An Energy Conservation Workshop, sponsored by the Anacortes Historic Preservation Board, the Anacortes Museum, and the Anacortes Public Library, will help homeowners improve the efficiency of their old homes, while preserving key architectural features. Topics covered will include:

Windows. If your house was built before 1940, the window frames (and probably the entire house) were made of the highest quality old-growth timber, nearly impossible to buy today. If maintained, those windows can last almost indefinitely. Rather than replace vintage windows, simply add a storm window. You’ll get the same insulating benefit for far less cost and with fewer wasted resources.

Air Leaks. Eliminating air filtration is an easy, inexpensive, do-it-yourself project. The most frequent culprits are gaps around pipes, ducts, and electrical chases that pass through the floor into an unheated space, through the ceiling into the attic, and through exterior walls. Seal these gaps with caulk or aerosol foam insulation and caulk all the baseboards. And don’t forget to use insulating kits around electrical receptacles and switches located on outside walls.

Insulation. Most heat loss is through under-insulated attics and floors. Adding adequate insulation improves R values more than switching to the most energy efficient window. The homeowner who adds both attic and floor insulation (R38 and R30 respectively, which is required by the
Washington State Energy Code for new construction) can expect to cut their heating bill by two thirds—an excellent return on investment.

Background: Historic preservation plays a critical role in achieving community-wide sustainability. Preservation is the ultimate in resource conservation—it saves energy and reduces waste.

Consider the following:
Large amounts of energy are required to produce, transport, and erect the materials used in new construction. Conversely, significant energy and resource savings are realized when an old building is preserved. By reusing the old structure, the original energy and resource investment is
maximized; demolition and reconstruction costs are avoided, and nothing is added to the nation’s enormous waste stream.

Pre-1940 buildings were often built for the long term. They used local materials—brick, plaster, concrete, wood—thus minimizing transportation costs. And they were designed to take advantage of natural lighting, cross-ventilation, and solar/thermal properties.

Newer structures often use materials that require more resources to produce and transport. These include such energy hogs as plastic, steel, vinyl, and aluminum. New construction often relies heavily on mechanical systems rather than natural forces for climate control and lighting.
Historic preservation is another tool communities can use as part of an overall strategy to encourage energy conservation, sustainability, and smart growth. It is a sound approach to community development and revitalization while preserving important aspects of our built heritage.

The workshop will feature two speakers who are preservation specialists with the King County Historic Preservation Program.

J. Todd Scott is a nationally recognized preservation architect. He currently works with the King County Historic Preservation Program while maintaining a small consulting business providing technical assistance and training to preservation groups Todd has been involved in numerous historic rehabilitations and has been a speaker at regional and national conferences on sustainability and advocacy in preservation. He has a Master of Architecture degree in Historic Preservation and Urban Design, is a licensed architect, and a member of the American Institute of Architects.

Julie Koler brings over 28 years of experience to managing and conducting a wide range of historic preservation programs at the local, state and federal levels. Most recently she has worked at the local level developing and implementing preservation ordinances. She currently manages the King CountyHistoric Preservation Program while also providing preservation planning assistance to communities throughout the state. She specializes in development of incentives and integrating preservation into land use planning to help communities encourage best preservation practices. Julie has a Masters Degree in Public History.