Stone homes. These remnants of the past dot the countryside, and can be found up and down the East Coast. Some of these homes date back to the 1600's, when Dutch settlers shared a peaceful co-existence with local Native American Nations. Many of these stone homes are still occupied today. But with a recent resurgence towards eco-friendly habitation, are these ancient structures finally becoming outdated? Or can a centuries old stone home be just as environmentally friendly as their contemporary counterparts?
In many ways, one could argue that an old stone home is the ultimate environmentally conscious residence. Is sustainability your concern? Few materials are as sustainable as solid rock which has been proven to withstand the test of time. Consider Stonehenge in England, which by some estimates has been standing for thousands of years. Or that stone house down the street? A mere babe in comparison at an average of 250 years old!
In some ways, buying and old stone home over a newer house instantly puts you at the head of the pack with regards to the footprint you leave behind. One of the most harmful aspects of new construction is the manufacturing and transporting of raw materials. Every stone house was built using local, salvaged, materials. Back then, there were no industrial quarries slicing into mountains, no 18-wheelers belching fumes as they transport lumber cross-country, no factories churning out synthetic paint and insulation. Stone houses were constructed with minimal impact on their environment, and they've lasted over hundreds of years. It doesn't get much more eco-friendly than that.
Owning an eco-friendly historic stone house is not without its challenges. Stone homes can be very difficult to insulate, leaving the ever-present "draft" especially in the winter. Stone has a tendency to trap moisture, as anyone who has ever explored a natural cave knows, so proper ventilation should be a major concern. If the home is in fact an historic landmark, there may be restrictions on what type of changes can be made to the home in order to preserve historical integrity. A homeowner may be limited with regards to changing windows, structural alterations, and heating / cooling systems.
Initiating a radical / ambitious energy-saving renovation to a centuries-old structure can be challenging, very technical and most of all: expensive. One must make sure they work with experienced and licensed contractors who specialize in this type of work. Making the wrong types of changes to a stone home can be expensive to fix and hurt the overall value of the home.
Although not without a price, living in an old stone home removes the most environmentally harmful step of home ownership from the equation, which is a very green move indeed! Please visit our website for more blogs and information!
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Taft Street Realty, Inc.