15 Products for Greening an Old House

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The Galveston Historical Foundation gave this 1890 Folk Victorian cottage a green makeover, blending high-tech products (solar panels, a wind turbine, heat-resistant window film) with preservation practices, earning a LEED platinum certification.

The Galveston Historical Foundation gave this 1890 Folk Victorian cottage a green makeover, blending high-tech products (solar panels, a wind turbine, heat-resistant window film) with preservation practices, earning a LEED platinum certification.

In the early days of the “green” movement (i.e., a few years ago), eco-friendliness went hand-in-hand with the newest of the new: cutting-edge buildings with sharp angles rendered in cool, clean, and often soulless concrete, steel, and wood. Despite all their charms, old houses were deemed drafty, inefficient relics by green crusaders.

But slowly, folks started getting wise to what preservationists knew all along: Old buildings are green. Thanks to the concept of embodied energy, restoring an old house is often greener than building a new one, even one with all the eco-minded bells and whistles. And now manufacturers are getting in on the act, too, churning out products that are kind to the environment (think recycled and sustainable components) and appropriate for historic homes. We’ve rounded up 15 of our favorites for every stage of the restoration process.

Online exclusive: Green your house the easy way with these 7 tips.