Historic Home Performance is the discipline of significantly enhancing very old homes in terms of contemporary home performance concepts — occupant safety, comfort, indoor air quality, durability, energy efficiency, minimally sized heating and cooling systems, bulk water and moisture control, weatherization, and ventilation — while preserving their historic character, original materials, and workmanship.
As far as I can discern, I’m the originator of the term ‘Historic Home Performance’, and first to attempt to delineate Historic Home Performance as a concept. However, I’m certainly not the only person working toward these goals, and we need a good many more doing the same.
My particular vision for Historic Home Performance unifies historic preservation, and the traditional and preservation trades, with environmental sustainability, building science, and deep energy reduction goals. Developing house as a system models of early American domestic architectures is fundamental to this approach, as is extensive and continuous monitoring of the home environment.
Traditional materials and workmanship are strongly advocated to ensure an historic structure’s long-term repairability, while non-traditional treatments must be reversible, re-treatable, and nondestructive to existing fabric. Identifying passive home performance strategies of the past that have been long incorporated into some particular historic building or home site, and determining how they might work in concert with modern home performance technologies, is also a major objective of this approach.
If you’d like to learn more about Historic Home Performance, please give my Historic Home Manifesto a read, as well as my listing of Historic Home Resources, and collection of Historic Home Performance articles. In time, I’ll expand these pages to include more detailed technical information, reports of actual results, and emerging best practices.
“Yes, I’m a building science guy… just one from the eighteenth century.” – John Poole