Greening an Old Home

It has been the hot topic of the past couple of years, and every builder has worked hard to exploit it as much as possible. While green building is as slick of a marketing tool as it is a contribution to energy conservation, it is a necessary change in the way we build homes. When we’re looking at the North Shore, however, we see a number of vintage homes with once-inefficient technology and no way to build green from scratch. The best we can do is work with what we’ve got, and many changes can be made without stripping the guts of a North Shore classic.

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Here are some ways to “green” these older homes without installing geothermal heating and bamboo wood flooring, but these upgrades can take some installation and maintenance. In lieu of the housing market, these changes are still considered a positive, long-term investment in the value of your home:

Connecting gutters to a water collection tank: If you already have an expansive lawn that guzzles water, installing a rainwater-storage container will help cut down on your irrigation troubles. While the Chicago area hasn’t seen a drought in awhile, Atlanta has been struggling with a water shortage that is making green lawns the last on their priority list. Water conservation is high priority countrywide, and these tanks will “harvest” water and store it for later usage, particularly during the hot, dry summer months.

Really, really good insulation:
While insulation and high-efficency windows have always been an energy-saver, Treehugger has some ways to use reclaimed materials to insulate your home. Old denim and recycled paper are just some of the ways you can re-insulate your home, including lofts and attic spaces, without using newly fabricated materials.

Low-Voltage, Halogen Lighting:
Lighting your home with halogen lights can reduce your overall energy usage (especially if you have a lot of square footage to illuminate). These halogen lights aren’t built to blind you or catch fires, since their low-voltage makes them safe to use around the house.

Here are some older homes that have great potential for greening:

116 N WINONA Rd
HIGHLAND PARK, IL 60035

Price: $249,900
Beds: 3 On Redfin: 1 day
Baths: 1 Year Built: 1939

177 S DEERE PARK Dr
HIGHLAND PARK, IL 60035

Price: $1,849,000
Beds: 4 On Redfin: 127 days
Baths: 3.2 Year Built: 1930

727 DE TAMBLE LN
HIGHLAND PARK, IL 60035

Price: $225,000Beds: 3 On Redfin: 56 days
Baths: 1.1 Year Built: 1912

  • http://www.bradmillerdesign.com/ Brad Miller

    Insulation is key! It’s amazing how much you can save if you properly insulate your property. It’s not a cool as adding solar panels or a windmill, but it’s the key to cutting energy consumption.