Episode Descriptions


Season Five: Brookline, MA
Energy Efficient House
This project premiered on PBS
October 1983
26 half-hour episodes; Programs #101-126

Program #101
Our host kicks off the new season with a retrospective look at the first four seasons of This Old House. Combining original clips with updated footage, he recalls the restoration of a rundown Victorian house, the conversion of a mansion into condominiums, the expansion of a 1950s tract house and the rehabilitation of a Greek Revival-style farmhouse.

Program #102
The star of this season's the All New This Old House is revealed: an energy-efficient solar home to be built from scratch in Brookline, Massachusetts. Our host introduces the new house site and talks to designer Steven Strong of Solar Design Associates about construction plans.

Program #103
Designer Steven Strong and our host review the design of the new house step-by-step, from conception to final plans. A survey engineer describes the surveying process and how the house will ultimately be situated on the lot.

Program #104
The work of digging a foundation for the new house begins. When the crew hits a rock ledge, they are forced to drill and blast in order to put in the bottom of the foundation.

Program #105
Our host discusses construction of the foundation for the solar house in Brookline with the crew chief. Later, our host visits a couple in Sherborn, Massachusetts who have dismantled, moved and reassembled an historic house.

Program #106
Landscape architect Tom Wirth discusses plans for a pool on the new site. Our host inspects the completed footings for the new house foundation.

Program #107
Our master carpenter supervises concrete pouring and waterproofing for the foundation of the new house. Later, our host visits a solar home in Lexington, Massachusetts.

Program #108
At the Brookline site, our host discusses the process of sealing the foundation sill with our master carpenter. Then our host looks at the Peabody House in Hollis, New Hampshire, an old home with a solar addition.

Program #109
Our host visits a solar home in Wilton, Connecticut, which utilizes a unique system of window shutters to close off a glass atrium at night.

Program #110
The All New This Old House surveys renovation and construction that is revitalizing the heart of Seattle, Washington. The crew visits the houseboat community of Roanoke Reef, view the restoration of Seattle's historic Alexis Hotel and explore the renovated Pike Place farmers' market.

Program #111
Our host visits an apartment on Boston's historic Symphony Row and a solar home in Concord, New Hampshire. Back at the Brookline site, work continues on the new house.

Program #112
Our host is in Stamford, Connecticut for a trip to United House Wrecking, the largest salvage yard of its kind on the East Coast. Our host surveys the yard's collection in search of come recycled architectural detail to incorporate into the design of the new house.

Program #113
Our host and crew travel to New York City to investigate the reuse of some its commercial buildings. With the help of architect who specializes in conversions, our host learns what loft living is all about.

Program #114
Our host gives a progress report at the new house site and tours the most exclusive address in the world, The Trump Tower, Fifth Avenue, New York.

Program #115
Work continues on the new solar home. Our host travels to Green Mountain Cabins in Chester, Vermont for a look at how log cabins are manufactured.

Program #116
After discussing the windows being installed at the new house, our host takes a quick trip to Medford, Wisconsin for a tour of the Hurd Millworks window manufacturing plant.

Program #117
Installation of photovoltaic roof panels begins at The All New This Old House site in Brookline. Our host explains how the array of solar cells converts light from the sun directly into electrical current.

Program #118
We visit Ryland Homes, manufacturers of pre-fabricated houses in Columbia, Maryland. Our host tours their factory where much of the construction takes place.

Program #119
Our host visits the home of legendary American architect Frank Lloyd Wright in Oak Park, Illinois. Research Director Don Kalec explains how the structure was restored to its original late 19th century state, and restoration expert Ed Johnson discusses the refinishing of some of the home's remarkable wooden doors.

Program #120
We visit Dallas to investigate another residential building alternative: a home that's computer-designed to offer optimum summer cooling efficiency.

Program #121
Our host and our master carpenter report on the latest construction developments at the new house site in Brookline.

Program #122
We travel to Riverside, California for a look at an unusual housing alternative: a computer-designed, mobile home park.

Program #123
Our host and company are in Hawaii to explore a unique island dwelling.

Program #124
The winner of the Metropolitan Home interior design contest is featured.

Program #125
The crew puts finishing touches on the solar home in Brookline.

Program #126
Our host takes viewers for a grand tour of the completed solar home in this final episode of the season.