Helmreich House Gets a Sustainability Makeover

Helmreich House's heating systems receives an upgrade

Helmreich House’s heating systems receives an upgrade

Bowdoin College’s College house system allows students the opportunity to live in beautiful century-old buildings while enjoying community living. Helmreich House, fondly known as “Helm” on campus, is part of this system and on the National Registry of Historic Places.

However, as anyone who has lived in a 100-plus-year-old home knows, there is a dark side to the palatial rooms and refined fireplaces of Victorian-era structures. Helm’s heating system was infamously temperamental and inefficient. As one former resident, Daniel Zeller ’15 put it, “The heat was either fully on or fully off for everyone. There was no way to find a happy medium.”

This summer, Bowdoin invested in some weatherization projects for the house that will not only improve the comfort level, but also the carbon footprint of the building. Maintenance coordinator Jim Deimer anticipates the upgrades will save the College at least 17%.

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  1. Fred Myer '60 says:

    Is this the house Prof Helmreich lived in on Boody St.?

  2. From the editor: No, Helmreich House is located at 238 Maine Street. It is the former Alpha Rho Upsilon fraternity house.

  3. Mark Slutz says:

    I’m thrilled that BC has chosen to update a vintage structure rather than destroy it. They will now have the best of both worlds; a functioning HVAC system, and the ambience of a Victorian Structure. My own home is about 90 years old, and I’ve taken a similar approach. I have a new furnace and central air, and the kitchen is fairly modern. I kept the Oak Floors, Cheery Wood Trim, Crown Moldings, and windows so old the glass is wavey. The house was built in the 1920s, and makes me think about F. Scott Fitzgerald, Hemingway, women in flapper dresses with bobbed hair, and dancing the Charleston (and listening to Jazz on old 78s).

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