As part of our mission to foster diverse and sustainable neighborhoods through well maintained homes, Home Repair Resource Center strives in all of our programs to educate community residents about the importance of sustainability. HRRC defines sustainability as the process by which community members maintain their homes in a healthy and safe manner, with products, materials, and repair techniques that promote reductions in energy and water consumption, as well as safe and healthy environments.
HRRC suggests that you check out these websites focusing on sustainable renovation of older homes, prepared by Fred Cortright and Chuck Miller.
Sustainable renovation of older homes:
Seattle, WA, Department of Planning & Development
Accessible, actionable information on sustainable home remodeling and maintenance, including links to its outstanding series of guides covering: Remodel Overview, Bath & Laundry, Kitchen, Painting, Lighting, Landscape Materials, Managing Rainwater, Roofing, Hiring a Pro, Salvage & Reuse, and Do-It-Yourself Home Energy Audit.
Environmental Protection Agency: Energy Advice for Owners of Older & Historic Homes
Guide designed to help homeowners make decisions about how to increase their home’s energy performance in a way that maximizes energy savings while preserving the historic character of the home. Advice on whether to and how to preserve original windows; improve air sealing; heating & cooling options; insulation, and more.
How-to, why-to, and when-to improve sustainability:
Environmental Protection Agency: Green Homes
Sustainable housing and renovation information presented in both a “topics” format (reducing energy or water use, home environmental hazards, etc.) and a “room-by-room” format (kitchen, bathroom, attic, etc.) that makes it easy to consider inter-related sustainability issues as one moves from project to project.
US Department of Energy: Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy
Offers homeowners an extraordinary range of information on home energy savings, from tips on window treatments through how to evaluate and select a new water heater or HVAC system to planning a home renewable energy system. From easy to geeky.
US Department of Energy: Energy Star
Detailed information on household appliances, building materials, and computers, including product specifications, buying guidance, and store locations. There is also general information on energy-efficient practices and procedures.
American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest
Advice on indoor air quality. Topics covered include controlling indoor humidity, reducing exposure to indoor pollutants, “sneeze-free” landscaping, and maintenance. Presented in topic and room-by-room formats.
Environmental Protection Agency: Indoor Air Quality Considerations when Remodeling
Advice on indoor air quality and good work practices to employ when undertaking repair and renovation projects. Covers such pollutants as radon, lead, dust and mold, and asbestos. Presented in topic and room-by-room formats.
Old House Journal
Information on techniques and materials for restoring older homes. While not explicitly “sustainable,” the focus is on preserving the embodied energy of these structures.
Green Building Advisor
Advice and information on green homes. Focus is more technical/professional, but not out of reach for many homeowners.
Improving accessibility & Universal Design:
The ASSIST Guidebook to the Accessible Home (a downloadable pdf), with a wealth of detailed information on making accessibility/aging-in-place housing modifications.
North Carolina State University Center for Universal Design
Numerous links to Residential Rehabilitation, Remodeling, and Universal Design (a downloadable pdf) that describes how to select a dwelling that is conducive to accessibility improvements, provides a comprehensive list of universal features for the entire house, and prioritizes the most important universal features. Contains multiple illustrated design solutions for the modification of two key areas, entrances and bathrooms.
WELLcome Home Project, Ball State University
Case studies, a home tour, assessment tools, and links to help homeowners determine how their house can be improved to allow them to stay at home.
Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation
Fact sheets, check lists, and guides on adaptable and accessible housing.
National Association of Home Builders
An aging-in-place remodeling checklist.
Other homeowner-focused sites worth visiting:
For additional information regarding sustainability, please refer to our resource library.