When updating historic (or even modern) homes, some of the most crucial considerations are the invisible ones—like airflow and energy efficiency. These aren’t the most exciting things to think about when planning a home upgrade because they’re not aesthetic, but that’s exactly why we think they’re so important. Anytime you make a structural change to your home, you often impact the way energy and air flow through it, and those impacts are usually felt rather than seen. Well done home renovations can greatly impact your quality of life—from lowering your energy bills to making the air you breathe cleaner and healthier for your family. 

We produced this Energy Retrofit series to help homeowners and contractors alike understand that there’s a science behind home upgrades. From ventilation to moisture absorption and humidity to materials, balancing a home’s energy equilibrium is a complex puzzle. Every decision you make has the potential to tip it, so it’s important to know the questions to ask and clues to look for when you’re embarking on a home renovation. 

To shed light on energy retrofitting, we brought together two of the most knowledgeable people in the business: Daniel Westbrook, a Seattle-area master craftsman and historic home restoration expert; and Mark LaLiberte, founding partner and president of Construction Instruction

We suggest starting with the four videos below. To see the full series, we've included links to each video at the bottom of this page.

Part 01: How Climate Affects Energy Efficiency

Our climate here in the Pacific Northwest can be hard on any home. From rain to cooler temperatures to high humidity, weather can have a serious structural impact. In this video, Daniel Westbrook and Mark LaLiberte discuss how to manage a home’s humidity in a cold, damp climate and why paying attention to a home's equilibrium is important during an energy retrofit.

Part 05: How To Improve a Home’s Air Quality 

Contrary to a somewhat popular belief, leaky houses don’t always have good air quality. Air can seep in from all sorts of places—crawl spaces, basements, outdoor areas, and other places where pollutants may exist. Learning how to look for pollutants and understanding how air moves through a home will help you improve your air quality. In this video, Daniel and Mark discuss how to control airflow into your home to ensure that you’re getting enough fresh, clean air. 

Part 07: How To Improve a Historic Home’s Energy Efficiency

Improving the energy efficiency of a historic home comes with special considerations. As you change the drying rate of a historic home, it’s important to evaluate the home's wetting rate simultaneously—this ensures the home’s equilibrium stays in balance. In this video, Daniel and Mark discuss how to keep a historical home well-preserved while performing an energy retrofit to improve air leakage. 

Part 11: How To Increase the Lifespan of Modern Homes

We’re usually concerned about energy efficiency with historic homes, but what about new homes? In this video, Daniel and Mark discuss the state of modern home building, the longevity of modern homes, and some common mistakes of modern homebuilding. 

See the full series

Part 01: How Climate Affects Energy Efficiency

Part 02: What is an Energy Audit?

Part 03: Practical Tips to Improve a Home's Energy Efficiency

Part 04: Optimize Insulation to Increase Energy Efficiency in Pacific Northwest Homes

Part 05: How To Improve a Home's Air Quality

Part 06: Is Your Home's Environment Reducing Air Quality?

Part 07: How To Improve a Historic Home's Energy Efficiency

Part 08: Should You Repair or Replace Historic Windows?

Part 09: How To Maintain the Energy Efficiency of a Historic Home

Part 10: Educational Resources for Contractors

Part 11: Contractor Guidance for Modern Homes

Part 12: Energy Efficiency and Home Innovation at Its Best

As always, Dunn Solutions is here to help you with our collective knowledge and expertise in home building and maintenance. To learn more about energy efficiency, be sure to check out the benefits and potential problems of energy-efficient retrofits, our article on repairing and replacing historic windows, and the rest of the videos in our Energy Retrofit series.