Kitchens are more than just a place to cook our food.  They are usually one of the main family living areas where we gather, commune, play, break bread with family and friends, and sometimes even work with laptop and files plopped on the table so we are sure to stay abreast of all the family’s happenings.

But they weren’t always this way.  In fact, in the late 1700’s and throughout the 1800’s – kitchens were more or less viewed as necessary evils to be tolerated and tucked away as unseen, unfelt, unheard, and unknown as possible.

In the very earliest Colonial America houses, this was accomplished by building kitchens in the basement of homes to keep the hardworking class that worked in the kitchen, as well as all of a kitchen’s rubbish, odors, soot, and smoke as far from the dining and living areas as possible.

Somewhere in the beginning of the 1700’s, kitchens began to be removed from the home and housed in small buildings located a short distance from the main house – something we usually refer to as a “summer kitchen”.  We’ve heard these kitchens were built to save the main house from the extra heat of a kitchen during the hot summer months.

This was, no doubt, a consideration, and probably the primary one for most households.  But as it turns out, it’s not the only one, and probably not the primary one for more well-off households.  This new kitchen architecture in wealthier households seems to have had more to do with race, gender, and social space than it did with the practical considerations of meal preparations for those in the middle to upper classes, as it reflected the growing custom of separating guests and family from slaves and cooks.

While energy efficiency was a dominant concern for one demographic in early America, and a strong sense of social order and place for another demographic, both demographics had one major reason for keeping kitchen spaces tucked away by the late 1700’s.  In the 19th Century, the “Miasmatic Theory” was the dominant disease theory and promoted the belief that offensive odors of decaying materials transmitted diseases, and by the mid-1800’s experts were campaigning to eliminate the causes of foul smells from housing in order to improve public health.

But keeping a house cooler in the summer, keeping the help away from the family and guests, and keeping sickness at bay by not exposing the house to offensive odors weren’t the only things that helped shape the history of our kitchen architecture.   The changing roles of women too.

Women played the role of providers of preventative medicine in their role as housewives, and the new focus on public health and disease prevention propelled women into a new role: domestic scientist.  Early feminist leaders advocated the use of a scientific approach to home management, cookery, and kitchen maintenance – especially as it related to maintaining good health.  The kitchen became viewed as a workshop to be designed and maintained for optimal work quality instead of the utilitarian “evil necessity” they had been as the housewife found that she had a higher calling in the battle against disease.

This new “professional housewife” had a new role, and needed a new kitchen environment to match.  Kitchens were pulled back into the home and placed squarely into the center of family function, as housewives tackled kitchen tasks in this new professional and scientific manner.

And so the modern kitchen was born, as by the turn of the 20th Century the loss of domestic help and advances in time management and public sanitation techniques shaped a new kitchen architecture for America.

Links

The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation: cr.nps.gov

National Center for Preservation Technology & Training: ncptt.nps.gov (Report testing the performance of wood windows in cold climates)

Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency: phfa.org (Renovate and Repair Loan Program)

Keystone Home Energy Loan Program: keystonehelp.com (Financing for energy efficiency improvements)

Preservation Green Lab: preservationnation.org/information-center/sustainable-communities/sustainability/green-lab/

Antique Homes: https://www.antiquehomesmagazine.com/ (Online real estate magazine for historic homes)

 

Products & Services

Custom Fireplace Dampers: controlcover.com

Custom Interior/Exterior Lighting: americanperiod.com

Michael M. Coldren Company, Inc.: coldrencompany.com (Historically accurate architecural hardware and lighting)

Pure Energy Coach: pureenergycoach.com (Historically sensitive energy audits)

 

Organizations

Preservation Education Institute/Historic Windsor, Inc.: preservationworks.org

The Institute of Classical architecture and Classical America: classicist.org

The Historic Preservation Trust of Lancaster County: hptrust.org

Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission: phmc.state.pa.us

National Trust for Historic Preservation: nationaltrust.org

National Center for Preservation Technology and Training:  ncptt.nps.gov/

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Publications

 

Testing the Performance of Historic Windows in a Cold Climate (1997-16)

A study was undertaken to determine the feasibility of renovating and upgrading an original condition window to the extent that its thermal performance would be equivalent to a window using replacement sash or window inserts. The study was funded by the State of Vermont Division for Historic Preservation based on a grant received from the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training of the U.S. National Park Service.

-Publication posted by The National Center for Preservation Technology and Training

 

 

The Effects of Energy Efficiency Treatments on Historic Windows

This study of the effects of energy efficient treatments on historic windows was developed with
extensive help and support from many collaborators who contributed materials or worked
tirelessly for little or no compensation to achieve research results. 

-Publication posted by The Center for Resource Conservation

 

 

Research Report #1203: Measure Guideline – Wood Window Repair, Rehabilitation, and Replacement

There is a significant push for energy performance upgrades to existing homes. An important target is often the windows. Old single-glazed windows have such low thermal resistance that their effect on the overall thermal resistance of the walls can be staggering. Improving the performance of the window stock is therefore central to the goal of reducing the energy consumption of the existing building stock.

This measure guideline provides information and guidance about rehabilitating, retrofitting, and replacing wood window assemblies in residential construction. 

-Publication posted by Buildingscience.com

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You have seen what we say about ourselves.
Here is what other people have to say about us:

In the Fall of 2013, the Franklin Street Train Station project won the Architectural Woodwork Institute’s “Award of Excellence” and was featured in an article in the Fall 2013 edition of their Design Solutions magazine.

 

Click here to read the article.


“The project was delightful- accomplished our goals and found new friends who are extremely knowledgeable, helpful and generous with their expertise.” – Anne & Walt 

 

 

“Jonathan and Danielle replaced the windows in our 1908 historic condo, installing new sound insulated versions that blended perfectly with the oversize window frames … it’s an easy 5 star for us.” – Jim

 

“Keperling Preservation Services is everything you want in a contractor. Their preservation work on the Bowmansville Roller Mill was excellent, on time and on budget. Highly Recommend.” – Nancy 


“Thanks for all your efforts and particularly the guidance and recommendations during the restoration of the Mylin Farmhouse.  You are particularly diligent and committed to the end result and I’m sure we are not the only customer to have benefited.

Jim Cluck, Willow Valley Retirement Communities”


Sunday News, Sunday, June 9, 2013, Lancaster, PA

Pointers from preservationists

By PAULA WOLF
Staff Writer

Pointers from preservationistsDid you know:

  • Repointing  a  historic  building’s bricks  with  modern  mortar  can  cause deterioration?
  • Using cheap  paint  can  permanently damage the surface to which it is applied?
  • Installing aluminum and vinyl siding over wood siding means trading a product that  can  last  200-plus  years  for ones that last 50 to 60 years? These are just three of 10  mistakes people make when upgrading historic properties, according  to Danielle Groshong-Keperling and her father, Charles Groshong.

   …. click here to read the full article.


Sunday News, Sunday, May 26, 2013, Lancaster, PA

Building on a respect for old structures

By ENELLY BETANCOURT
Staff Writer

“I started my life in an old house,’’ says the native Nebraskan.

“I lived in a home that my grandfather built for his family,and I was drawn to it. I always felt a need to take care of it.”          Building on Respect

A city resident, Groshong is chairwoman of the Lancaster Historical Commission, which oversees new construction

and demolition of properties within the Heritage Conservation District.

The 64-year-old is a partner at K&G Artisan Builders, which is also known to local residents as Historic Restorations.

Old buildings, she notes, have survived all kinds of changes and they have stories to tell. “To me it’s about taking care of them and keeping that piece of our history alive,’’ she says.

“I believe that being a preservationist is a small thing I can do to make the world a better place.”

….to read the full article, click on the picture on the right.              


 


Intelligencer Journal and the Lancaster New Era, Thursday, August 9, 2012, Lancaster, PA

Lancaster city firm is restoring battlefield landmark

By LARRY ALEXANDER
Staff Writer

At around 9 a.m. on Wednesday, July 1, 1863, Lancaster-born Gen. John F. Reynolds drew rein at the Lutheran Theological Seminary just west of the town of Gettysburg.

“What’s the matter, John?” he shouted to Gen. John Buford from the cupola atop the seminary roof. Buford had been anxiously watching as his cavalrymen held back the long lines of Confederate infantry approaching the town.

“The devil’s to pay,” Buford called back and climbed down to confer with Reynolds.

Those were the opening moments of the Battle of Gettysburg. And while Reynolds would die two hours later, and Buford within six months, the building where they met, Schmucker Hall, still stands.

To ensure that the landmark structure maintains its historical integrity, a Lancaster firm is performing extensive restoration work.

“When we’re finished, Schmucker Hall will look just like it did during the Civil War,” said Danielle Keperling, who, with her husband, Jonathan, owns and operates Historic Restorations.

….to read the full article, click on the picture on the right.


“We realize that we are very demanding and that you are a consummate artisan…we are very pleased with the job you are doing.  The crafstmanship is outstanding!  You have been so helpful in filling the gaps of our knowledge. Thank you!” –Clients wish not to be identified

 


Intelligencer Journal and the Lancaster New Era,  Wednesday,  May 5, 2011, Lancaster, PA

 

People know of Ford’s Theatre, where on April 14, 1865, John Wilkes Booth shot Abraham Lincoln.  Fewer people know of the Peterson House, where the stricken president was carried and treated, and where he died the next day.

Now, a team of Lancaster County woodworkers is toiling to restore the federal-style rowhouse in Washington, D.C., which has fallen into decline.

“The National Park Service…wants to save it from falling apart,” Chuck Groshong, co-owner of Historic Restorations at 341 E. Liberty St., said.  “There had been some repairs down over the years that were shortsighted.  There were a lot of ‘Band-Aid’ solutions.  Now they have a plan.”

The Peterson House, built in 1849 by a German tailor, is owned by the federal Department of the Interior and is maintained as part of the….  To read the full article, click on the picture.


“We had an opportunity to watch what was going on when Charles Groshong was remodeling and restoring part of The Heritage House Museum, which is an old log-constructed house.  We were able to observe the careful and fastidious craftsmanship they used in accomplishing the project.  This was the kind of craftsmanship we wanted in the restoration of our own 200-year-old building.”  — Dot and Mickey



“Thank you for the great work on the crown moulding.  We are very pleased with the look!  We’ll keep you in mind for future projects.”  — Shelby and Jack

 

“Thank you so much for the spectacular job you did on the ‘Sugar Shack’.  The entire process was a pleasure!” — Nancy


Click here to read the Historical Architectural Review Board testimonial.

 

Sunday News, Sunday, September 9th, 2012, Lancaster, PA

Making Old New Again

When Richard and Dasa Redmond wanted to upgrade the kitchen in their 19th-century home, they chose a contractor who specializes in old properties.

Historic Restorations is known for its work on such landmarks as the Pterson House in Washington, D.C. – where President Abraham Lincoln died after being shot by John Wilkes Booth at Ford’s Theare – but the Lancaster company also does smaller projects too.

Before tackling the Redmonds’ kitchen, Historic Restorations redid the front windows in their home, located in Lancaster City’s Old Town neighborhood.  The job required city approval because of the residence’s historic character.

 

….to read the full article, click on the picture on the right.


 

“Our carpenter was Chuck.  Thankfully, he knows much more than we do about restoration details.  We feel his work and expertise are outstanding.” — Gib and Marty.

 


 

“Appreciated having the same crew throughout the project…and the clean up when the job was completed.” — Laura and Ron

 

“It is not enough to say that your work on the floor is superb.  In fact, the architect, Gary Shaffer, called it ‘impeccable’. High praise indeed, and we agree!” — Rev. Mitchell

 


Lancaster New Era, Thursday, April 24, 2008, Lancaster, PA

Chuck Groshong is an artist who fears his art is dying.  He takes a traditional approach to building, sticking with mortise and tenon in a particle-board world.

Chuck runs Lancaster-based Historic Restorations, along with his wife Lois, their daughter Danielle Groshong-Kerperling, and her husband Jonathan Keperling.

From solid-wood custom cabinetry to additions that complement an older home’s original style, the family sees restoration as not just a job, but an art.

 

….to read the full article, click on the picture on the left.

 

 


“Everything you folks did, was nothing but the best!” — Don

 

“It was a pleasure renting from your company.  You were always prompt and polite.  Your quick replies and suggestions were appreciated.” — Mike and Tricia

 

 

“Thanks, thanks, thanks.  We will be much more satisfied with this project in the end than we would have been without you.” — Clients wish not to be identified

 

“Thank you for the work on the porch and window sills.  I just wanted to let you know that Josh was very professional and kept me well informed of the progress and what to expect.  — Genevieve



“Thanks for your help and guidance in the restoration of our historical home.  We surely needed your ideas.  Keep in touch.  We enjoy your visits and treasure your friendship.” — Carlton and Audrey

 

“Thank you so much for the lovely work you did on the finials, they look wonderful.  We are very pleased with the way they turned out.”  — Glenn

 

“Just wanted to send a slightly more formal thank you for coming over on such short notice to make sure all was well at the house.  It really made a difference.  Your efforts are appreciated and we know none of this would be happening without you.”  — Client wishes to not be identified

 

“The windows look very good.  Just as intended, I barely noticed them.  Thank you for all the patience and concern you and your family have shown toward the Marietta Community House. Please pass on my thanks to all involved.”  — Eric


Lancaster City Living, Fall/Winter 2009/2010

No one could dispute the charm and unmatched character to be found in older homes — especially those in Lancaster City. The old-world architecture calls out to many potential buyers … and yet, their interest is often tempered by wariness at the potential costs involved with operating and maintaining an old house.

Will their utility bills be through the roof? Will they purchase the house, only to be saddled with expensive repairs a few months down the line?

Both Chuck Groshong of Historic Restorations and Mike Zimmerman of City Brick Restorations will tell you that there are ways to alleviate the common problems of energy efficiency (or lack thereof) and structural repair that often plague some historic houses.….to read the full article, click on the picture on the left.

 

 


Sunday News, Sunday, August 4, 2013, Lancaster, PA

Preserving History 

As it expands for the first time in years with its Providence Park neighborhood, Willow Valley Retirement Communities is also busy preserving Lancaster County’s history. Preserving HistoryA 1787 stone farmhouse on Willow Valley’s Lakes Campus — built by the grandson of Martin Meylin, inventor of the  Pennsylvania long rifle — has just been renovated.

The purpose is to turn it into an interpretive center, where the history of Willow Valley’s older buildings and the area in general will be told, said John G. Swanson, president of Willow Valley Retirement Management Inc.

This project is “a good example of taking a historic building and blending it” with the present, said Joe Patterson, executive director of the Historic Preservation Trust of Lancaster County.….to read the full article, click on the picture on the right

 

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Projects & Services

HISTORIC PROPERTIES WE HAVE BEEN INVOLVED IN RESTORING
(To see more pictures of a particular project, please click on the thumbnail.)

For a printable version of this list, please click here.

Public Projects


Petersen House
Perhaps our most famous project, the Petersen House is the 19th Century house across from Ford’s Theater that President Lincoln died in.  We also repaired and replicated the interior and exterior woodwork, including structural repairs, in our 2011 rehabilitation and repair project for the National Park Service.

 

 

National Institute of Health Building #3
For this project in Bethesda, Maryland, we repaired and replaced a seven-piece cornice.

 


Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial
The Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial in Independence National Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, owned and managed by the National Park Service.  For this project we made exterior woodwork repairs using solid wood and epoxy systems including: window frames and sash, doors, and shutters.  The project also included: exterior painting, masonry repairs, and replacement of a hand-split, cedar shake roof.

 


Columbia Market House
This building was built in 1869, and we restored the double hung windows, frames, and sills, and installed invisible exterior storm windows to increase energy efficiency.

 

 

Iron Horse Inn/Strasburg Hotel
This project involved rebuilding a Victorian wrap-around porch to match a picture provided showing a previous porch from the 1900’s.

 

 

Hancock House
Built in 1737 in Salem County, New Jersey, this house was owned by the State of New Jersey, Department of Environmental Protection.  For this project, we fabricated and installed a replica 18th Century door using existing hardware.

 



Victorian Store-Front for Nine West
For this project in Soho, New York City, we manufactured and delivered an assembled and ready-to-install set of nine-foot doors (made of Spanish Cedar with riot glass) and Victorian store-front.

 

 

Elizabethtown Train Station
The Pennsylvania Railroad built the Elizabethtown Train Station in 1915 to serve the Masonic Home and the citizens of Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania.  Our project involved restoring twenty-nine sash frames for the original leaded glass.

 

 

Old Main, Franklin & Marshall College
Old Main is a Gothic Revival style building built in 1856 at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  We restored thirty-one windows, rebuilt the four level stair tower, replaced the bell tower louvers, and removed a modern replacement door to install a door we fabricated to match the original doors in the two flanking buildings.

 


Franklin Street Train Station
Built in 1929, the Franklin Street Train Station is located in Reading, Pennsylvania.  It has been abandoned and damaged by weather, vandals, and vagrants since 1972.  Our project includes: rebuilding the interior and exterior doors, jambs, sidelights and transoms, restoration of wood windows, and rebuilding a coffered ceiling.

 

 

Great Conewago Presbyterian Church
Built in 1787, and remodeled in 1870, the church was used as a field hospital during the Battle of Gettysburg.  For this project, we lovingly restored the antique heart pine flooring during the restoration in 2002.

 

 

St. John’s Episcopal Church
Located in Havre de Grace, Maryland, this church was built in 1809.  We restored double doors and surround – stripping the paint, repairing the mouldings, and repainting.  We also coordinated restoration of 1840’s antique hardware.

 

 

Schmucker Hall, Seminary Ridge, Gettysbur
Schmucker Hall is a Civil War Era building located on Seminary Ridge in Gettysburg, PA.  For this project we restored 92 wood windows and replicated 24 interior rail and stile doors with fire rating.  We rebuilt Peace Portico and Rear porch using new rails and balusters to match exissting.  Removal, storage, and re-installation of existing millwork.

 

 

 

Private Projects

 

1910 Tobacco Warehouse
Converted into a single-family residence, this project was featured in Lancaster County Magazine and on Lynette Jennings Design on the Discovery Channel.  This project won the 2000 C. Emlen Urban Aware for building preservation from the Historic Preservation Trust of Lancaster County.

 

 

Log Home
Located in Elizabethtown, PA, this project involved removing the 1950’s asbestos siding to reveal the logs, making the second floor livable space, and converting the front room into an art gallery.

 

 

Victorian Farmhouse
For this project, located in eastern Lancaster County, we built a sympathetic addition to match the original house.  We also fabricated a custom kitchen to match the Victorian style of the house.

 

 

John Maddox Denn House
Built in 1725, this monogrammed house in New Jersey needed a complete historic restoration transforming the house back to 1725, correcting alterations from previous remodels.  This project also involved extensive research into the appropriate materials, applications, craftsmanship, and styles to ensure a period-appropriate restoration.

 

 

Circa 1850 Stone Bank Barn
This project converted the 150-year-old bank barn into a single-family residence, with new timber frame addition on the original tobacco barn foundation.

 

 

 

George William Curtis House
For this project in Staten Island, New York, we fabricated 19th Century porch architectural details, installed columns, built stairs, replaced ears on window sills, replaced brackets under the eave, fabricated true divided light windows to replace modern replacement windows, and fabricated solid wood louvered shutters.

 

 

Second Empire Revival House
For this Circa 1860 house in Pennsauken, New Jersey, we replaced the cornice to match original, rebuilt the internal gutter system, flashing and roofing, repaired the wood siding (replaced rotten pieces), and reinforced water-damaged framing.

 

Log Restoration
For this project in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, we repaired insect and water-damaged logs with consolidant and epoxy system.  Daubing was replaced with a historically accurate lime-based daubing.

 

 

 

 

 

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HISTORIC PROPERTIES WE HAVE BEEN INVOLVED IN RESTORING

For a printable version of the complete list of projects we have been involved in, please click here.

 

Public Projects

(To see more pictures of a particular project, please click on the thumbnail.)


Petersen House
Perhaps our most famous project, the Petersen House is the 19th Century house across from Ford’s Theater that President Lincoln died in.  We also repaired and replicated the interior and exterior woodwork, including structural repairs, in our 2011 rehabilitation and repair project for the National Park Service.

 

 

 

National Institute of Health Building #3
For this project in Bethesda, Maryland, we repaired and replaced a seven-piece cornice.

 

 

Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial
The Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial in Independence National Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, owned and managed by the National Park Service.  For this project we made exterior woodwork repairs using solid wood and epoxy systems including: window frames and sash, doors, and shutters.  The project also included: exterior painting, masonry repairs, and replacement of a hand-split, cedar shake roof.

 


Columbia Market House
This building was built in 1869, and we restored the double hung windows, frames, and sills, and installed invisible exterior storm windows to increase energy efficiency.

 

 

 

Iron Horse Inn/Strasburg Hotel
This project involved rebuilding a Victorian wrap-around porch to match a picture provided showing a previous porch from the 1900′s.

 

 

 

Hancock House
Built in 1737 in Salem County, New Jersey, this house was owned by the State of New Jersey, Department of Environmental Protection.  For this project, we fabricated and installed a replica 18th Century door using existing hardware.

 



Victorian Store-Front for Nine West
For this project in Soho, New York City, we manufactured and delivered an assembled and ready-to-install set of nine-foot doors (made of Spanish Cedar with riot glass) and Victorian store-front.

 

 

 

Elizabethtown Train Station
The Pennsylvania Railroad built the Elizabethtown Train Station in 1915 to serve the Masonic Home and the citizens of Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania.  Our project involved restoring twenty-nine sash frames for the original leaded glass.

 

 

 

Old Main, Franklin & Marshall College
Old Main is a Gothic Revival style building built in 1856 at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  We restored thirty-one windows, rebuilt the four level stair tower, replaced the bell tower louvers, and removed a modern replacement door to install a door we fabricated to match the original doors in the two flanking buildings.

 

 


Franklin Street Train Station
Built in 1929, the Franklin Street Train Station is located in Reading, Pennsylvania.  It has been abandoned and damaged by weather, vandals, and vagrants since 1972.  Our project includes: rebuilding the interior and exterior doors, jambs, sidelights and transoms, restoration of wood windows, and rebuilding a coffered ceiling.

 

 

Great Conewago Presbyterian Church
Built in 1787, and remodeled in 1870, the church was used as a field hospital during the Battle of Gettysburg.  For this project, we lovingly restored the antique heart pine flooring during the restoration in 2002.

 

 

 

St. John’s Episcopal Church
Located in Havre de Grace, Maryland, this church was built in 1809.  We restored double doors and surround – stripping the paint, repairing the mouldings, and repainting.  We also coordinated restoration of 1840′s antique hardware.

 

 

Schmucker Hall, Seminary Ridge, Gettysbur
Schmucker Hall is a Civil War Era building located on Seminary Ridge in Gettysburg, PA.  For this project we restored 92 wood windows and replicated 24 interior rail and stile doors with fire rating.  We rebuilt Peace Portico and Rear porch using new rails and balusters to match exissting.  Removal, storage, and re-installation of existing millwork.

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Achieving energy efficiency without compromising historic integrity in old buildings is always a high priority, and sometimes surprisingly easy….. when you learn to compromise on the right thing.
Recently we restored an early 1900’s wood exterior door for a private residence.   When this door was constructed there would have been no door sweep or weatherstripping and restored to original condition this door would have a high rate of air infiltration – leading to moisture damage and high energy losses.  Fortunately,  we do not have to choose between energy efficiency and historical integrity – non-original features like door sweeps and weatherstripping can be added in a historically complimentary way.
Instead of the commonly used plastic door sweeps, a sunken bristle door sweep can be installed to limit visibility and eliminate an obvious visual intrusion on the door’s historical features. Brass or bronze weatherstripping can be used in lieu of plastic to remain in keeping with materials and styles one would expect to see for that period.

Strike the right kind of compromise by choosing historically complimentary options and you too can have energy efficient historical preservation.

On Tuesday A. Tamasin Sterner from Pure Energy Coach spoke on the topic of indoor air quality at the monthly breakfast meeting for the Central Pennsylvania Preservation Society (CPPS).  
A single hour in Tamasin’s presence, is easily one of the most informative hours you’ll ever experience in your life and Tuesday was no exception.  The Historic Restorations family and other attendees at the meeting learned what the single most important aspect of energy efficiency and healthy air in a home is:
Balancing the air that goes out with fresh air coming in to achieve a neutral pressure field. 

Energy expert Tamasin Sterner shares her knowledge of Indoor Air Quality

It turns out, balance and moderation are not just good for your waistline and stress levels, it’s good for the air in your buildings too. Tamasin taught us how to evaluate and balance the air flow in buildings and the kinds of things that impact air flow patterns.  Not only does balanced air flow maximize energy efficiency, it protects the health of the building’s occupants and users, and preserves the materials and structure of the building.  
We were particularly interested to learn about the many ways air flow balance in a home is disturbed with all the seemingly innocuous improvements and changes we make to buildings that aren’t things we would have connected to impacting energy efficiency.  
Did you know that recessed lights placed near an air return can make you sick?  That sealing off the roof in your house can create moisture issues?  That even the appliances in your kitchen can create an imbalance in the health of the air of your house?  Did you know that many times asthma and allergy issues are directly related to the health of the air at home?  Did you know that sealing a house is really only half of the picture of energy efficiency?  Do you know what the other half is?  
It’s ventilation.  Without proper ventilation, insulating a house well is actually a bad thing.  It will decrease your energy efficiency, lower the quality of the air you breathe, and set up prime conditions for developing moisture issues.
Tamasin gave us those tidbits and tons of other information in her presentation, but perhaps the most surprising information from the presentation was

There is one single, simple, FREE, thing that all HVAC installers should be doing (but aren’t!) to check for proper drafting and ventilation when a new system is installed in a house and how to ask for it to make sure it gets done.  

When 30% of houses have high levels of carbon monoxide, 80% of houses have gas leaks, and the most common cause of older and historic building deterioration is uncontrolled moisture, this is critical information to have.  

Balancing the air in our buildings can not only contribute to energy conservation, it will keep our buildings healthy so the humans that use them stay healthy in order to continue expanding our healthy and living historical preservation.  
Healthy buildings.  Healthy Humans.  Healthy Histories.

If you haven’t yet attended a monthly breakfast meeting for CPPS, or you don’t make it a habit to attend regularly, you should.  Meetings are only $15, include a continental breakfast spread (with The Cork Factory Hotel’s homemade pastries), and expert presenters that cover a variety of topics.  You can see their upcoming schedule and register to attend one of their monthly breakfast meetings at: centralpennsylvaniapreservationsociety.org/events.


2. 10 Common Mistakes People Make While Working on their Historic Building.
        Structures are historic because the materials and craftsmanship reflected in their construction are tangible and irreplaceable evidence of our cultural heritage. Substitute materials subtract from the basic integrity, historically and architecturally, of buildings. Historic materials should be retained whenever possible. Since wood has always been present in abundance in America, there is a richness and diversity of wood sidings in America. Therefore the wood sidings become a recognizable part of the historic character of a building.
       Often, during a restoration project, the replacement of wood siding is deemed necessary because it has deteriorated beyond repair. The concern with using vinyl or other synthetic materials to replace the original materials is a loss or severe diminishing of the unique aspects of the building. Applying synthetic material to a historic building can damage or obscure historic material, and more importantly diminish the historic identity of the building.
     Though installation of artificial siding is thought to be reversible, often there is irreversible damage to the historic materials during the installation process. Furring strips are used to create a flat surface, “accessories” are needed to fit the siding around architectural features, and the existing wall fabric is damaged from the nailing necessary to apply the siding.
       In addition, aluminum and vinyl siding is often applied to buildings in need of maintenance and repair, thereby concealing problems which are an early warning sign of deterioration. Cosmetic treatment to hide difficulties such as peeling paint, stains or other indications of deterioration is not a sound preservation practice.  In addition, artificial siding makes it impossible to monitor the condition of the building because it is hidden from view.
     The questions of durability and relative costs of aluminum or vinyl siding compared to the maintenance cost of historic materials are complex. One consideration is repair cost. All siding materials are subject to damage and all can be repaired. However it is much easier to repair wood siding, and the repair, after painting , is generally imperceptible.
      Because aluminum and vinyl can be produced with an insulating backing, they are sometimes marketed as improving the thermal envelope. In reality, the thickness of any insulating backing would be too small to add to the energy efficiency of a historic building and should not be a consideration when choosing synthetic siding.
      Finally, artificial siding removes the unique details and distinctive qualities of your building and can reduce its value in the marketplace by making it look like every other house.
      Historic Building materials, when properly maintained, are generally durable and serviceable materials. Their existence of tens of thousands of historic buildings is proof that they are the good selection.