Historic Homes Can Be Environmentally Friendly Dwellings

         “Location, location, location”, explains why the owner and marathon runner bought an historic home in Swarthmore, Delaware County, Pennsylvania. She was also interested in living in an environmentally friendly home.  However, the house had been built in the early 1900s so a complete renovation would have to be planned.

        Originally the Wayside Tearoom, her new house is believed to have been rezoned from commercial to residential use, but the architecture and layout remained functional for a personal residence.  She was eager to add modern conveniences without altering the overall architecture of the house, so she called Ken Lord, President, Lord Contractors, Inc., Collegeville, to help with the remodel. Lord Contractors, Inc. is a general contracting company specializing in custom residential home construction, remodeling and renovations since 1974.  www.lordcontractors.com Anthony Miksitz Architect also assisted with the  design.  http://www.am-architect.us/

         With the owner's collaboration, Lord Contractors, Inc. put in new electric and plumbing systems, insulated the walls and ceiling and replaced many of the old windows with high-quality, double-pane Anderson windows.  Azek trim and James Harding cement siding were used on the outside of the house because they give the appearance of real wood, are long-lasting, and minimize maintenance and repair. The original hardwood floors and doors were sanded, refinished and restored.  Redesigning the roofline and installing a new Velux skylight transformed the 3rd floor attic transformed into usable living space.

                     HEATING CLOSE TO THE FLOOR
           All of the bathrooms and the kitchen were entirely updated and renovated incorporating many sustainable features. The original radiators were kept because the owner likes the quality of the heat they generate.  Radiant heat was installed in the master bath and kitchen because it’s more comfortable and the heat is closer to the floor.  This type of heat saves money in fuel bills. A high-efficiency boiler provides the warm, flowing water for the radiant system and radiators. An on-demand hot water system supplies the kitchen and baths.  “I like this system because water is only heated when it’s needed, avoiding the standby heat losses associated with a storage tank,” says the owner.
       The final phase of the project called for the construction of a garage on a property that had never had one.  The garage, which now houses a hybrid care, was designed with a green roof. To accommodate the vegetation; the roof is flat, giving the neighbors a garden view and minimizing rainwater runoff because the plants absorb the water.
       In the end, the owner discovered that renovating an historic home with sensitive planning and design allows her to live as a 21st century environmentalist.  In addition, the project received federal energy tax credits PECO rebates and Swarthmore Township building permit discounts.


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