A Nation of Old Homes


Seen this house? Like me, you might've grown up in one, or now come home to it daily.
Did you know that well over half of our nation's houses were built more than three decades ago? With a median (i.e. halfway point) year built of 1974, the vast majority of our nation's residential houses are functionally obsolete and you are chucking money putting lipstick on a pig if you do anything short of a total gut and retrofit of an existing house. Building science has in fact changed that much in the last five years.

Houses are systems. Cable shows romanticize fixing up This Olde Dump; however, even assuming structural integrity, you're pitching money if you don't modernize the systems and tighten the building envelop (i.e. proper air sealing, insulating and indoor air filtering).

There's nothing wrong with renovating to a traditional STYLE of house, the problem, many owners focus only on fixtures and finishes and lose sight of the house as an integrated system. Brushed nickel looks spiffy but $400 electric bills aren't warm and fuzzy. These owners will continue wasting precious income monthly heating and cooling outdoors.

A new building code is now in effect and best practices the last five years in building science and Universal Design correct many design and construction mistakes of the past, so those inclined to renovate an older home can achieve an old fashioned look along with energy efficiency and social sustainability.

Just remember when looking at these properties, we no longer design and build that way for a reason, not all oldies are goodies.
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