As we know, historic houses can be drafty.

As we also know, from the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory that Kim Wheels at EcoAction Partners had been analyzing for the last 10 years for our region, residential buildings account for emitting the greatest carbon emission in our community, before transportation and waste. The Blue House in Telluride, a designated historic building on East Columbia, has attempted to green up in various ways — we have conducted two professional energy audits on the house, signed up for Green Blocks through SMPA, choosing to use renewable energy options for electricity used, and we have weatherized and updated appliances to ENERGY STAR. But still, if the house is drafty, and the heat is flying out the cracks, these efforts fall short of making much of an efficiency impact.

The front doors at the Blue House have always been a significant culprit. They were 200 years old: thin, cracked, weathered, patched, glued and clearly falling apart. HARC designation has made it difficult to replace them, as the committee initially asked us to repair instead of replacing them over the years, and so we did, and the energy consumption of the house continued to escape through the cracks in the doors, the corroding threshold, and the failing frame even after we had them repaired by a specialist in all things Victorian and historic. We could not tape on enough weather stripping to solve the drafty problem. Thankfully, HARC recently granted permission to replace the doors with modern 21st-century ones, with the caveat that they had to be custom-built replicas of the existing 1898 doors with braided Victorian touches and all.

There is no way we could have made this energy-efficient upgrade to the Blue House without the generous grant awarded to us through the Telluride Green Grants program that covered the cost of the designated historic replica-looking doors. We are happy to report that the doors have now been replaced, and one more historic house in Telluride is helping to reduce the carbon footprint coming from buildings. Thanks again to the Town of Telluride and its Green Grant Program for helping us make these energy-efficient upgrades. We could not have done it without your support and generous grant funding.

Joanna Kanow