The most energy efficient home is one that's already built. Keeping a home out of a landfill saves all the materials in the house, as well as all the energy used to create the materials—the building's embodied energy. And historic homes preserve a slice of culture that would otherwise be lost forever. And what's better than keeping one 100-year-old house out of the landfill? Keeping two 100-year-old houses out of the landfill.

Tom White, publisher of Home Energy Magazine, and his partner Dmitri Belser are both interested in historical preservation. When they heard of a house scheduled to be torn down on the University of California, Berkeley, campus that was being offered for $17 and the costs to move it, they decided to go for it. The Swiss-chalet-style house, located above Boalt Hall, was built in 1902 by Warren Cheney, a publisher and editor of The Overland Monthly and a real estate developer of the Panoramic Hill area.

 If Tom hadn't already earned his green building chops after almost 3 years as publisher of Home Energy, this house move would certainly do it. They own a plot of land on 62nd Street with plenty of room for a house. But there was already another 100-year old house on the plot that had to be moved first. It's a one-story 1870s Frontier Italianate style cottage. Are you getting the picture here? These guys are willing to back up their green convictions with money, sweat, and many days spent with pegged frustration meters. Did I mention the house they decided to move has two stories?

Here's the plan:

Phase 1. Slice Cheney House in half. Lift second story. Move first story to rented space in Albany. Move the second story to Albany. (Note: The perpetual construction on Haste, telephone poles, parked cars, and other obstacles.)

Phase 2. Lift the cottage on 62nd Street. Move it back on the lot about 100 feet. Dismantle the brick foundation.

Phase 3. Bring the second story of the Cheney house from lot in Albany to lot on 62nd Street. (Note: Perpetual Road construction on Sacramento, telephone poles, parked cars, and emergency vehicles trying to get by.) Lift it up. Move first story of Cheney house from Albany to 62nd Street and place it beneath second story.

Phase 4. Build new foundations for both houses.

“I think we visited—at least once—every single department in the city of Berkeley in the last week before Phase 3,” says Tom. “The departments don't always communicate well. The police didn't know we were moving a house—half a house—and so there were still lots of parked cars blocking us along Alcatraz. But they had them cleared in no time. The whole trip from Albany to 62nd Street took about two hours.”

The first story of the Cheney house has yet to be moved to the 62nd Street plot. Still to do: Phase 4, and a long vacation.

Views: 35

Comment

You need to be a member of Home Energy Pros to add comments!

Join Home Energy Pros

Videos

  • Add Videos
  • View All

Twitter

Latest Activity

Empower Efficiency added a discussion to the group Job Board
Thumbnail

Position Opening: Local Community Outreach Specialist, Energy Efficiency (San Carlos, CA)

Local Community Outreach Specialist, Energy Efficiency (San Carlos, CA) Job Title: Local Community…See More
7 hours ago
Amber Vignieri posted a blog post

Elevate Energy Mythbusters: Windows & Attics Edition

This blog post is guest written by former staff member Eric Keeley.Great enthusiasm for home energy…See More
8 hours ago
Glen Gallo replied to Diane Chojnowski's discussion Poll: What is you favorite or most important home performance diagnostic or measurement tool?
"I agree with Ted. If I could bring just one piece of equipment it would be the blower door. It has…"
11 hours ago
Glen Gallo replied to Shaun 's discussion Commercial duct testing
"If above the ceiling tiles the wall is a finished assembly and there is insulation on or under the…"
11 hours ago
Tom White's video was featured

Combustion Appliance Zone Testing (CAZ) Made Easy (March 24, 2016)

Combustion Appliance Zone Testing (CAZ) Made Easy (March 24, 2016) -Gauge Fundamentals -Adapting to the new BPI standard -RESNET testing requirements -NFPA testing requirements -Best practices for best results
11 hours ago
Profile IconLaura Capps and Bret Abrams joined Home Energy Pros
yesterday
Olivia Taylor posted a blog post

5 Key Reasons Why Rooftop Solar Is Popular In The US

The rapid switch from traditional electricity to clean, economical and renewable solar energy is…See More
yesterday
Adam Swain posted a blog post

Top 5 Tips For Hiring A Crawl Space Contractor

A homes crawl space is one of the few places most homeowners try to avoid at all cost, and for good…See More
Wednesday

© 2016   Created by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service