Weatherization of Historic Buildings

graphics of air leaks from a house
Common Air Leaks
Air infiltrates into and out of a home through every hole and crack. About one-third of this air infiltrates through openings in ceilings, walls, and floors.

Weatherizing and improving the energy efficiency of historic buildings

Weatherization means implementing cost-effective measures to make a building's envelope more energy efficient. Weatherizing a historic building requires undertaking those measures in ways that have minimal impact on the historic building's design and materials.

Learn about weatherizing historic buildings

Conduct an Energy Audit
An energy audit should be undertaken before energy-improvement measures are implemented. The audit evaluates the building's current thermal performance and identifies any deficiencies in the building envelope or mechanical systems.

Modify User Behavior
User behavior and climate have a great effect on energy use and should be considered before developing a weatherization and energy efficiency plan.

Develop a Weatherization Plan
Developing a plan tailored specifically to your building, site, climate, and occupancy will be an effective tool in reducing energy consumption.

Eliminate Air Infiltration
Air infiltration is the exchange of air through cracks and gaps in the outside shell of a building. There are many simple, low-cost improvements that can reduce air infiltration in your historic building, such as caulking and weather-stripping.

Repair and Upgrade Windows and Doors
Historic windows and doors can often be repaired or upgraded to improve energy efficiency and occupant satisfaction.

Select Efficient HVAC and Electrical Systems with Programmable Controls
The efficiency of mechanical and electrical systems plays a large role in energy use. Ensuring that existing systems are functioning as efficiently as possible or upgrading to new, more-efficient systems can substantially reduce energy consumption with minimal impact on the historic building.

Install Insulation
Installing insulation in certain spaces can be a cost-effective solution to heat loss. However, determining where to install insulation can be a more complex decision than many people realize.

Select Efficient Appliances
When choosing new appliances for your historic building, select products labeled ENERGY STAR, which meet energy efficiency guidelines set by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy.

Add Shading Devices
Installing appropriate awnings on your building or planting deciduous trees can provide shade in the summer and reduce energy needs.


Last updated: September 15, 2022