One of the first things I started to consider once we had an accepted offer on the NW Hoyt house was what we could do to be green and more efficient. There is a natural disconnect between efficiency and age. There are some unique challenges when rehabbing older houses, especially historic registry ones. We don’t want to rip out the lath and plaster because doing so almost ensures damaging the molding which is still in good shape but it precludes unfettered access to the studs and easy insulation. Besides, disposing of that amount of plaster is not an eco-friendly, cheap, clean or easy proposition. Some of the historic windows need to stay even though they are single pane to maintain the home’s integrity. To that end, Earth Advantage and/or LEED certification would be nearly impossible as their certifications start at 15% over current code requirements (and that the programs are primarily geared towards new construction at this time).
But can we move forward by grandfathering or ignoring the past? No. That’s why I’m thrilled to announce that we will be working with Earth Advantage and their new pilot program, Energy Performance Certificate. The way the EPC works is that the house is audited before and after the remodel project. The certificate provides evidence of the improvement and gives a metric with which other houses can be compared; miles per gallon, APR for loans or credit score. We’ll lose some points by keeping some of the windows but we should be able to make significant improvements and being able to measure that is important.
Since this is the first property going through the certification there will probably be some revelations that will only serve to improve the overall program. We still have some final details to work out but it looks like this is an exciting road to be heading down. We’ve got our permit from the City of Portland for all the planned work and have submitted the application for the Special Assessment Program.