"Sustainability begins with historic preservation." This is the motto of the Virginia Preservation Toolkit, a website specially focused on Virginia and the mid-Atlantic region that shows homeowners how to weatherize, renovate, and preserve historic homes. A faithful Re-Nest reader recently shared their online interactive tool with us, which shows homeowners how to increase the energy efficiency of their old house. Starting at the porch and covering exterior woodwork and paint, air filtration, and gutters and drainage issues, the principles shared apply to old houses everywhere.
Here's a bit more information from the website on the importance of historic preservation and why it's a responsible, sustainable practice:
There are compelling reasons for us to conserve energy whether it's to lessen this country's dependence on foreign oil, reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that scientists say contribute to climate change, or simply to save money.
Whatever the reason, conserving energy begins with good stewardship-taking care of what we already have. If we are good stewards of our natural environmental resources, then it makes sense that we care for our historic-cultural resources, too-the older houses, neighborhoods, towns, and cities where many of us live or work.
...Environmental leaders concerned today about climate change advocate for new "green" buildings and "sustainable" building practices. In so doing, it is important to remember that the greenest building is the one already standing — especially an historic building or house.
...Think of historic buildings and neighborhoods as renewable resources — to be recycled to meet today's needs; to be sustained to enrich the lives of future generations, who can then readapt them to their own particular needs. Moreover, keep in mind that when we preserve an older building or neighborhood by retaining its historic character, we help our environment by making better, wiser use of what is already built.
By recycling older buildings, we give them new life, and we save both the energy and resources they embody. We also save the energy and resources that would be spent in demolishing them and replacing them with new buildings.
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