BENEFITS OF KEEPING HISTORIC WINDOWS FROM PRE-WORLD WAR II HOMES
1. Quality: Your windows have irreplaceable old growth wood, are joined together with craftsmanship no longer done, and sometimes even have wavy glass.
- Old growth wood comes from slow growth trees, which are more resistant to decay and termites than today’s fast growth, soft wood. They are of very high quality by today’s standards, which was taken for granted back then, and having lasted 100 years so far, when restored are more weather resistant, and will outlast the replacements available today.
- The mortise and tenon construction of antique windows is incredibly strong and should the joints weaken, they are easily repaired..
- Wavy Glass- Cylinder and hand blown glass tell the story of the era in which the glass was manufactured. Old glass has stunning variances in color and texture. Some window panes are rippled like the ocean, and others have scattered bubbles throughout the glass (a desired antique effect).
2. Charm: You love the original antique mood of your home. Your windows represent a previous time and are made with craftsmanship and attention to detail. An older home with replaced windows doesn’t have the mood of a home with original windows.
3. Endurance: Your original windows have provided service since new, and with proper maintenance they should last at least as long as they have until now.
4. Function: Weights and pulleys are a simple and an ideal functioning balance system where after restoration, you can open and close your window with one hand. They are easily serviceable as compared to vinyl jamb liners or invisible balance systems which at most last 10-20 years but usually less.
5. Green. Your windows are already built and so by definition are the most green way to go.
- Discarded windows add to overcrowded landfills.
- Depleting forests of trees for wood in new windows, creating waste in the manufacture of the replacement windows, consuming energy to extract and process raw materials, and then more energy to assemble, transport and install the replacement windows uses much more energy that the embodied energy of an existing window.
- Vinyl– PVC (poly vinyl chloride) – if there is a fire, PVC will release toxic amounts of dioxin. Lead is used in the manufacture of PVC. PVC emits gases over time and is terrible for the environment. There are many efforts being made to use less vinyl.
- Replacement windows use non –renewable resources like petroleum.
- Repairs and restoration work are done by local craftspeople paying local taxes. They use a minimum of materials and resources and a maximum of labor. Restoring windows is the best use of existing materials and the best way to support the local economy.
Richard Moe, President of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, explained, “We can’t build our way out of the global warming crisis. We have to conserve our way out. That means we have to make better, wiser use of what we have already built.”
6. Energy Efficiency: Fixing broken glass, failed glazing, or a lack of weather-stripping – all very small and repairable items, will make the biggest difference in the energy efficiency of your windows. In fact, just unsticking your double hung windows, so that both the top and bottom windows open, can cool your home by 10 degrees!
Additionally please see this synopsis from Preservation Nation regarding energy and financial savings by restoring rather than replacing windows:
The following is a quote from the above website link to Preservation Nation:
►The Bottom Line. Retrofitting windows with high performance enhancements can result in substantial energy savings across a variety of climate zones. Selecting options that retain and retrofit existing windows are the most cost effective way to achieve these energy savings and to lower a home’s carbon footprint. Retrofits extend the life of existing windows, avoid production of new materials, reduce waste and preserve a home’s character
7. Fit: Care was taken to match the weight and style of window to the building, the trim, etc. They have expanded and contracted with the seasons. Old houses move and shift over time and frequently the gaps that open up around rigid replacement windows and the window openings result in more drafts that the original windows.