Resolutions for the New Year

By: Conrad Neuf , Contributing Writer
In: Old Houses, Old House Musings, In The News

It’s hard to believe that in a couple of days 2010 will be history; it seems like only yesterday that I was closing out 2009 with a post about the old house from the movie “A Christmas Story” being restored. I remember when I was in elementary school many years ago Christmas Break seemed to last for months and Summer Break lasted an eternity, but now it feels like I no sooner hang a calendar for one year and it’s time to replace it. It wasn’t too bad when I was in my 20s and 30s, but now that I’m in my 50s it can be a little scary at times.

Everyone always talks about resolutions for the New Year around this time so I thought I’d touch on a few that old house enthusiasts might want to make.

Old House Holidays--photo from gonewengland.about.com

Old House Holidays--photo from gonewengland.about.com

Old House Energy Efficiency

I wrote about the extension of the federal energy tax credits a few weeks ago and the revisions are now a little more clear. The Alliance to Save Energy website has a pretty good description of how the tax credits have changed for 2011 and what you can use them for. If you haven’t taken advantage of the credits to make your old house more energy efficient yet, you should make a resolution to do so in 2011. The Cash for Caulkers legislation doesn’t appear like it’s going to happen any time soon, but if you live in an area near where the Home Energy Score Program is being tried out, you may want to make a resolution to get your old house tested.

Historic Preservation for 2011

Over the past year we’ve written a lot about how the downturn in the economy has hurt preservation efforts across the country. California has had to close many of the old houses in their state park system to visitors because they don’t have the funds to pay for maintenance and Honolulu is considering revising their historic home tax break policy. Budgets from the federal level all the way down to local towns and counties have been tightened. While reports seem to indicate the economy is gradually improving, it may be a long time before state and local coffers are healthy again, and preservation programs are going to continue to get the short straw.

Ready for a Well Deserved Rest--photo from gonewengland.about.com

Ready for a Well Deserved Rest--photo from gonewengland.about.com

If an old house or historic property in your area is in danger, let your voice be heard; in many cases if the jurisdiction thinks no one cares, the property may be lost forever. Or better yet, as the old adage goes–actions speak louder than words–make a resolution to get involved in your local preservation organization in 2011 and help to make a difference.