“Green Restoration: Sustainable Building and Historic Homes” by Aaron Lubeck is a basic book for understanding some of the nuances of older homes and remodeling in an eco-friendly fashion, while staying within historic preservation ordinances and utilizing incentives.
Many weatherization programs and ‘green’ building codes are written for newer homes. They do not take into account historic architecture or consider historic features that were meant to make a house livable in a time prior to air-conditioning and central heating. Lubeck also points out that not all modern building material is sustainable.
Federal programs often do not consider differences in climate. The effectiveness and efficiency of ‘clean’ energy also varies. What may work well in one climate, will not work well in another.
In retrofitting some older homes, it is possible to lower their energy efficiency. As an example, Lubeck points out that opening and closing windows can moderate temperatures without consuming energy. Disrupting the designed air flow pattern in these homes lowers their energy efficiency by creating a need to artificially cool or heat them more frequently.
This is a good book for the person unfamiliar with older homes and/or the variety, challenges, and possibilities inherit within a remodeling process.