In an era where energy-efficiency is at the forefront of everyone’s minds, when it comes to lighting a home effectively, modernizing the lighting in an historic preservation can be a challenge for both the homeowner and the architect. In order to protect the integrity of historic preservation in New England, finding a balance between the natural daylight and historic light fixtures with modern upgrades is essential.
Unfortunately, due to safety concerns during WWII blackouts, many of the natural light sources from skylights were covered over in homes older than 50 to 60 years. Later, with the advent of fluorescent lighting as a money-saver and bright light source, improper fixtures were installed and more natural light sources, such as glazed transoms, were obliterated. All of these changes adversely affected the natural historic quality of the homes.
Experienced preservation architects like us at TMS Architects can help you complete a historic preservation in New England that will provide task lighting where required, reintroduce natural lighting where possible and upgrade or replace current historical light fixtures while maintaining the integrity of the property and restoring its market value.
When embarking on a project of this magnitude, it is critical to seek the services of an architect with ample experience. Not only are there aesthetic concerns, there are often limitations to wiring capabilities, color renditions to consider and the maintenance of historic accuracy. When incorporating energy-efficient lighting with historic preservation, there are many guidelines to be met and electrical standards that must be adhered to.
After determining your needs and wants, your architect will design a plan that outlines the restoration, often called a Building Preservation Plan. This will include lighting fixtures that are to be modified and natural light sources that will be restored. In some cases, detailed drawings will be included for replication purposes if the fixtures cannot be adapted. Although the plan will include all aspects of the restoration project, for the purpose of this article, we have focused on the lighting.