Folk-Victorian House Gets Major Energy-Neutral Retrofit

With the real-estate bonanza gone south these days, more and more homeowners are staying put rather than working towards a big flip. If you’re going to stay in your home, why not green it? A recent retrofit of a Folk-Victorian house to an energy-neutral home (which comes to us via Green Packs) just goes to show that even an old house can learn new green tricks.

The 110 year-old house belongs to Matt Grocoff, attorney-turned-producer and founder of, who went through and did the dirty work you’d expect when it comes to fixing up such a grande dame: getting rid of the lead paint and asbestos siding, as well as installing some of that new-fangled stuff called insulation. Then he did the simple things: replacing old light sockets and lights with modern connections fitted with compact fluorescents bulbs (CFLs), as well as motion sensors that switch them off automatically when there’s no one in the room, not to mention hauling out ye old commode and replacing it with a new Caroma Dual Flush that only uses .8 gallons per flush.  Then, he went a step further, installing solar panels on the roof and digging bore drillings into the backyard to exploit geothermal energy.


image via Green Packs

The Grocoffs, it seems, are also up-to-date when it comes to keeping track of their home’s energy usage. By using the Watt Vision Google Power Meter energy management system, they’re able to keep tabs on how much electricity their converted Victorian is using, and when. Add heating and cooling courtesy of geothermal (one presumes) and there you have it: the converted Victorian energy-neutral home.

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Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.

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