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Historic Schoolhouse Improves Its Energy Efficiency

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Thetford Heat Volunteers and Energy Committee Members
Photo credit: Source: Town of Thetford

Source: Bob Walker - SERG

The Thetford Center Community Center (TCCC) is an historic schoolhouse that serves as a location for many different events, including community suppers and town recreation activities.  A partnership between the Sustainable Energy Resource Group (SERG) and the Thetford Energy Committee catalyzed the weatherization project, which started in 2009 and took a year to complete.  

Because TCCC is an historic building, the groups enganged historic preservation experts early on, including the Preservation Trust of Vermont and the Division of Historicy Preservation, to assess and design energy efficiency implementation strategies.  The success of the project relied on many volunteer hours and funding from a variety of sources.  


Anticipated overall energy savings from the building weatherization are over 70%.  This was achieved by performing the following work:

  • Reducing air leakages by almost 80%, as demonstrated by blower door tests from %,889 CFM 50 before work to 1,200 CFM 50 at the completion of the project.
  • Installing 2" of foam insulation on basement walls, 16" of cellulose in the attic and dense packed cellulose in the walls.
  • Installing curtain drain to keep moisture out.
  • Restoring parts of the foundation that were failing.
  • Installing 150 CFM bath fan with motion controls to ventilate building when in use and help maintain healthy indoor air quality. 
  • Installing a new high-efficiency sealed-combustion furnace, which will further reduce fuel use and assure proper ventilation of combustion gases and more.

An historic preservationist trained volunteers to weatherize the building's windows onsite.  This both improved the building's efficiency by reducing leaks and taught volunteers to do the same work on their home's windows. 

The building gets far more use from the community as a result of this effort because the retrofit made the space more comfortable.  This project serves as a model for how other Vermont communities can make energy efficiency improvements on old buildings while preserving their historic nature.    

Keys to Success:

The support of the Thetford Selectboard, as well as the generous support from a variety of organizations and individuals, was vital to the success of this project.  These organizations include:

  • The Thetford Center Community Association, which helped support, promote, fundraise for and generate the people power to undertake the effort by leading the volunteer recruitment.
  • The 59 volunteers who donated more than 500 hours of labor!
  • The Thetford Energy Committee, which lent organizational support during the entire project.
  • Donations from private and public organizations (Ben & Jerry's, New England Grassroots Environment Fund, Preservation Trust of Vermont, Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation), local businesses and private individiuals.

Contact: Robert Walker,, 802-785-4126