Making History Green: A Study of Geothermal, Wind and Solar Power in Historic Houses

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MA in Historic Preservation

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To view a complete copy of this thesis please contact Goucher College Special Collections & Archives at or (410) 337-6075.


This thesis examines the feasibility of three proven green technologies in privately-owned historic homes. These technologies are geothermal heat pump systems, photovoltaic power systems, and wind power systems. The application of these systems in historic houses requires different considerations than when installed in a new home or when preserving historic integrity is not a priority. Therefore, it is important to examine how and if these technologies can be adapted for historic homes. The thesis begins with a chapter discussing the benefits of green technology and how green technology applies to historic preservation. The main body of the thesis contains three chapters, each focused on one of the technologies and a case study. The Joseph Story House in Salem, Massachusetts and the Rev. Bailey Loring House in North Andover, Massachusetts provided insight into the use of geothermal heating and cooling systems in historic homes. The Loring House was also the case study for photovoltaic system. Finally, the Mann House in Atlanta, Georgia was an example of the use of a residential wind turbine in a historic district. Homeowners were interviewed for insight to the challenges of installing and using these systems in historic homes. The case studies are unique in that the families each had a connection one or more of the technologies utilized and they had the financial means to install extensive systems. The thesis concludes with financial considerations and federal incentives. Green preservation, geothermal, solar, wind, energy efficiency, Rev. Bailey Loring House, Joseph Story House, Mann House, renewable energy