Identifying and Improving the Energy Performance of Historic Homes

This two-part workshop will cover energy audits and retrofits of historic homes. Homeowners, architects, designers, planners, and advocates will benefit from this detailed overview of improving the energy efficiency of historic homes taught by leading experts in the field. Part 1: Identification - Energy Audits for Historic Homes Historic homes present unique challenges for improving energy performance; however, the technology for isolating and identifying weak spots in a home’s energy use has dramatically improved in the last decade. This half-day portion of a two-part workshop will look at the latest cutting-edge methods and technology for finding the best opportunities for improving energy performance in historic residential buildings. Researchers and practicing experts will demonstrate how these technologies work, and how homeowners, architects, and other professional practitioners can best make use of these tools.
  • Introduction to Residential Auditing with Unique Considerations for Historic Buildings - Gavin Healy - 9:00 am - 11:00 am
  • Typical Sources of Energy Loss and the Inherent Energy-saving Features of Historic Buildings - Antonio Martinez-Molina 11:00 - 12:00
Part 1 Learning Objectives
  1. Identify weak spots in a home’s energy use, including air infiltration, lighting, ventilation, insulation deficiencies and more.
  2. Name the most common problems – and solutions – to heat and energy loss in historic buildings
  3. Understand the inherent strengths of historic building features that help save energy, including what to retain and how historic buildings were built for comfort.
  4. How to audit a home with emphasis on retaining its historic feature and fabric. How do you identify the non-energy efficient areas of the home and prevent damage or removal of historic fabric?
Part 2: Intervention – Costs, Benefits, and Methods for Improving Energy Performance - What are the top interventions that homeowners can apply to their historic home? Two distinct sessions will each look at the top interventions for historic homes that achieve the most results for the lowest cost. Case examples will illustrate lessons learned and issues encountered.
  • The Audit to Intervention Nexus - Gavin Healy - 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
    • How to use information gained from auditing
    • Residential Energy Upgrades – High-performance Attics (attic floor to roof deck)\
  • Roofing, Ventilation, Insulation - Matthew Piner - 2:00 – 3:00
    • Regionally specific solutions
    • Different ways to get insulation into buildings
    • Retrofitting / re-roofing – windows of opportunity
    • Rad-roof – double skin assembly
    • Night Flush ventilation
    • Case studies and photographs of retrofits
  • 3:00 - 4:00 – Panel Discussion at end. Gavin Healy, Matthew Piner, Antonio Martinez-Molina
Part 2 Learning Objectives
  1. Determine the most cost-efficient and low-impact design interventions that achieve the best energy performance improvements for historic homes
  2. Select and apply the best method to optimize the envelope to minimize air infiltration.
  3. Recognize the various factors that influence the decision to repair or replace windows. How can homeowners retain historic windows while still achieving the best energy performance?
  4. System considerations – identifying the difference and benefits of HVAC and water heating systems.
  Speakers Gavin Healy, Principal, Balance Point Energy Solutions. Gavin Healy likes to fix houses that are at least 75 years old, and enjoys making them perform better than most new construction. Since co-founding Balance Point Home Performance in Nevada County California in 2006, it has grown into a full service home performance analysis, retrofit and consulting company, which now offers deep energy retrofits and zero net energy homes. Gavin also provides consulting and training services to a range of utilities and home performance programs, including PGE, SMUD, REU, and Energy Upgrade California. He is a BPI test proctor and lead trainer for the California Building Performance Contractors Association (CBPCA). In his spare time, Gavin is working on a deep energy renovation of his own home, an 1880 Victorian in downtown Nevada City. Antonio Martinez-Molina, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Architecture, LEED Green Assoc., University of Texas at San Antonio Dr. Martinez-Molina is an Assistant Professor in the College of Architecture, Construction and Planning (CACP) at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). He is a licensed architect with a PhD in Architecture gained in 2016 at the Universitat Politecnica de Valencia (UPV), Spain. He has broad international experience in sustainable architectural design obtained in a number of countries, including the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Denmark, the Czech Republic, New Zealand and the United States. His PhD thesis, entitled, “Methodology for Energy and Thermal Comfort Assessment in Existing Buildings,” used and refined building energy simulation and monitoring techniques and contributed to a new wave of interest in preserving existing structures through adaptation to modern use. His doctoral research significantly extended his skills and experience, including conducting building performance evaluations, energy simulation and post-occupancy evaluations (POE). Dr. Martinez-Molina's main research activities address sustainable building design and occupant comfort, health and well-being. The majority of his research experience has been gained in Europe and the United States. His current role as an Assistant Professor with UTSA brings together the skills he has honed through his diverse pedagogical and research experience and allows him to implement low-carbon technologies pursuing positive-energy buildings and create sustainable designs for a more comfortable, healthy and efficient built environment. He is an affiliated faculty at the Texas Sustainable Energy Research Institute (TSERI) and Research Advisor at Green Urban Data. Matthew Piner, Owner, Pinerworks Architecture Matthew Piner is a graduate of UC Berkeley, U Penn and is a licensed Architect since 1992, a licensed General Contractor since 1989 and since the Fall of 2010 is an Adjunct Instructor of Architecture teaching a hybrid classroom and online course – “Introduction to Green Buildings I & II” - at Cosumnes River College. The course is an overview of sustainable methods for heating, cooling and lighting. He recently developed and holds a trademark for an innovative roof retrofit and new construction method called the RaVe Roof System® which radically lowers attic temperatures and allows insulation up against the roof deck. He has lived in Sacramento since 1987 where he lives in a 1903 home he renovated with state of the art energy efficiency upgrades - including a major reconstruction after a fire in 2013. He has operated his own firms – Pinerworks Architecture and Ecologic Builders - since 1990 and served for 5 years on the City of Sacramento Preservation Commission. Recent projects have added experience with constructing vegetated (living plant) roof systems on both sloping and flat roofs and participation on a Living Building Challenge project with ArchNexus Architects in Sacramento.