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Renovating History

May/June 2009
This article originally appeared in the May/June 2009 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
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May 06, 2009
We go back, back, way back - to look at a home built in the Colonial style in 1928, as it undergoes a thoroughly modern retrofit.
The stately Georgian brick home built in 1928 in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains was designed long before the term ”energy efficiency” ever became a part of building vernacular. In fact, the architect, Stanhope Johnson from Lynchburg, Virginia—who was hired by the Rockefellers to design the restoration of Williamsburg—designed everything in the house exactly the way it would have been built in the colonial seventeenth century, adding only electricity and indoor plumbing. “It was an energy efficiency disaster,” says the homeowner. “Johnson was so accurate he did not put dampers in the five fireplaces because in a colonial home you never let the fires go out. And there was absolutely no insulation in the walls or in the attic.” For four years, EarthCraft Virginia has been bringing high energy efficiency, enhanced indoor air quality (IAQ), and environmentally responsible design to single- and multifamily new construction in the state of Virginia. It is an adaptation of the EarthCraft Green Builder program developed 12 years ago in Atlanta, Georgia, by Southface Energy Institute and the Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association. An EarthCraft technical advisor is assigned to each project to advise subcontractors ...

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