Making Mid-Century Modern Homes Energy Effecient

In Charlotte, if you are looking for a modern home, you will be choosing from an inventory of resale mid-century modern homes that were built in the 1950’s and 1960’s. (sadly, we just don’t have many new construction modern homes). So you’ve found the perfect “atomic ranch” and ask to see the energy bills and fall over from shock.

modern charlotte - mid-century modern green homes

So let’s start with the positive.

Since these homes were built in the older suburbs, they are closer to city centers.and shopping. Ahah! That means commute times (and fuel costs) are less. Also, these homes are more modest in size and pack more quality space in a smaller footprint than their bloated Mcmansion counterparts! Consider the fact that you are recycling a house and will not be consuming new materials. You will also have the advantage of buying existing established landscaping and mature trees that provide energy saving shade.

 

But what about those big utility bills? Here are some inexpensive things you can do that are simple and inexpensive:

  • Caulk and weatherstripping are our best friends!
  • Gaps between siding and window frames need to be sealed and use weather stripping around exterior doors.
  • Don’t forget about those baseboards and around electrical outlets. A few tubes of caulk could save a bundle.
  • The US Department of Energy has lots more information on more practical tips.

 

Another big bang for the buck is sealing the ductwork! Now why didn’t I think of that? I know from experience that duct work is often loose in mid-century modern homes. I was air conditioning my crawl space for months! Duct tape is not advisable for sealing ductwork. I hear HGTV has a video out on sealing ductwork.

 

Next is attic  or roof insulation. Heat rises and looks to the roof for it’s first avenue of escape! For low pitched roofs, spray on foam insulation is the way to go and then your roof goes over that. For roofs that are not visible to the eye, a white membrane roof works well.

 

When you get into replacing windows and heat and air systems- you can get into the big bucks. So do the inexpensive things first!

 

I will be speaking to Michael Williams, LEED certified architect of Liquid Design, about a particular MCM home that poses some special issues as it has walls of single pane glass and no attic due to vaulted ceilings! Let’s see if we can’t have our green mid-century modern cake and eat it too!! Will be blogging about Michael’s suggestions for this special Modern Charlotte Home.

 

 

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