Orchard House is the former home of the Alcott family, where author Louisa May Alcott wrote "Little Women." Photo by Jennifer Lord Paluzzi

Preserving Orchard House for future generations 

By Betsy Levinson  Betsy@theconcordbridge.org
December 21, 2023

Orchard House, once home of the Alcott family, is “leading the way in sustainable innovations that will ensure the house is enjoyed for generations,” says an online brochure about the historic manse put out by Sustainable Concord, a town division. 

Property managers of the house on Lexington Road, which A. Bronson Alcott called old in 1857, are “implementing a wide range of initiatives to boost energy and water efficiency, reduce its carbon footprint and make sure it is physically resilient.” 

According to information provided by Sustainable Concord, the Alcotts used a kettle for a “constant source of hot water,” thereby reducing the fuel needed to boil water; used sustainable farming practices; and “maintained vegetarian diets.” 

New initiatives at Orchard House include installing geothermal heat pumps, thereby reducing electric bills by up to 70% and reducing noise pollution. 

“We’re hopeful that the people who come here will understand the lessons of the past — including sustainability — and see how we can preserve that legacy by taking action today,” said Jan Turnquist, executive director of Orchard House. 

The bathrooms have “WaterSense” toilets that use 20% less water than standard toilets and paperless communications including digital memberships and e-newsletters. LED lighting will replace old bulbs and fixtures. 

In the future, Orchard House is planning an accessible interpretive path and a recreation of the Alcotts’ kitchen garden.  

For more information, go to www.louisamayalcott.org.