Making a Difference
Stephen and Rebekah Hren
By Gianna Palmer | From Preservation | March/April 2009
Rebekah and Stephen Hren make living green look easy. In 2006 the Hrens (he's a restoration carpenter and she's a solar electrician) bought a 1932 bungalow in downtown Durham, N.C., and gave it a green overhaul. Aware that restoring existing buildings is more sustainable than building from scratch, they purposely chose a historic fixer-upper in an urban area, Rebekah says.
After a year and a half of work, they had converted all heating, cooling, and electricity in the house to solar power. And last year they published a book about their experiences: The Carbon-Free Home: 36 Remodeling Projects to Help Kick the Fossil-Fuel Habit (Chelsea Green Publishing, $35).
"I think preservation and environmentalism naturally go together," Stephen explains. "If we want to have a decent culture and a decent life on the planet, we have to preserve our architecture and preserve our environment."
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