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 Top Ten Reasons to Repair or Restore Wood Windows.

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Secretary of the Interior Standards

Illustrated Guidelines for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings; BUILDING Exterior - Windows (1992).
Prepared by: Technical Preservation Division, National Park Service.
https://www.nps.gov/tps/standards/rehabilitation/rehab/windows01.htm

This document provides a description of the U.S. Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation before introducing the Guidelines for Rehabilitation. The Guidelines are intended to be used together with the Standards for Rehabilitation to provide a model process for property owners, developers, and Federal agencies. The “Windows” section provides a brief history of windows followed by a “Recommended” section in which approaches, treatments, and techniques that are consistent with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation are discussed. Approaches, treatments, and techniques that may adversely affect a buildings character are discussed in following section titled “Not Recommended.” Photographs accompany various treatments to provide a visual example for the reader.

Preservation Brief #9 – The Repair of historic Wooden Windows (1981). Prepared by: Technical Preservation Division, National Park Service.
https://www.nps.gov/tps/how-to-preserve/briefs/9-wooden-windows.htm

This technical brief explains the architectural significance of windows and provides guidance on preserving, rehabilitating, and restoring historic windows. This publication helps historic property owners recognize and resolve common issues prior to starting their window project. Additionally, this brief is particularly useful to property owners that may be seeking local, state, or federal tax credits because it recommends methods and approaches for rehabilitating historic windows that are consistent with their historic character.


General Information on Historic Windows

Historic Window Guide (n.d.). Prepared by:  the Conservation Team,  Tewkesbury Borough Council.
http://tewkesbury.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=872

This guide provides an illustrated history of window development in the United Kingdom from the Middle  Ages to the present and a clear and concise explanation to the question, “Why are windows important?” Numerous photographs, diagrams, and illustrations are used to provide examples of styles, designs, and construction techniques of historic windows. This guide also provides a section on the history of glass and a glossary of window terms.


Historic Windows, (n.d.) By the Historic Preservation Education Foundation
http://hpef.us/historic-windows

This website is home to the on-line exhibit “Windows Through Time”.  The exhibit documents the history windows in the United States from 1630 through the 1950s by cataloging historic windows. Each entry contains a photograph of a historic window, its location, dimensions, a physical description and some historic background. The catalog’s examples are an interesting collection that show how various windows were used in different types and styles of buildings.


Windows of Opportunity: Repair - Don’t Replace - Those Older Wood Windows (2013). By Rebecca Williams, National Trust for Historic Preservation.
http://www.communitypreservation.org/enews/windows.htm

This short article discusses the benefits of retaining historic windows and makes the case for repair over replacement. In addition, the author provides some easy, low-cost tips for increasing the energy efficiency of historic windows and provides additional resources for further reading.


The Home of the Future? The home of the future may be older than you’d guess (2007). By James Hadley, AIA; Mar/Apr 2007: Home Economics (Vol. 10 No. 2).
http://www.architects.org/architectureboston/articles/home-future

In this article, author and AIA architect, James Hadley, discusses historic buildings in the context of environmental conservation. Hadley provides a definition for “embodied energy” and uses historic windows to illustrate why rehabilitation is an environmentally sound practice. 


Energy Efficiency

What Replacement Windows Can’t Replace: The Real Cost of Removing Historic Windows (2005). By Walter Sedovic and Jill H. Gotthelf. APT Bulletin: Association For Preservation Technology Vol. 36 No. 4.
http://ohp.parks.ca.gov/pages/1054/files/replacement_windows%20sedovic%20gotthelf.pdf

This article discusses replacing historic windows in the context of preservation and sustainability. The authors use a scientific approach to evaluate various windows replacement options and historic window rehabilitation. They provide data regarding embodied energy values for various materials and provide a “Windows Replacement Worksheet” designed to help property owners estimate the savings (or lack thereof) of replacing existing windows with energy efficient upgrades. The issues of air infiltration, heat loss/gain, performance and material quality, aesthetics and authenticity, and ease of maintenance are also discussed.


Windows: Energy Efficiency Facts and Myths (2004). By Shanon Peterson Wasielewski
http://www.dahp.wa.gov/sites/default/files/Windows%20Energy%20Efficiency%20Facts%20and%20Myths.pdf

This paper makes the case for the rehabilitation of historic wood windows by discussing the various arguments that property owners and small contractors often use to justify replacement. The author provides a case study on the cost/benefit analysis and includes a nice bibliography for further reading or information. It is important to note, that the authors assumptions of the costs associated with both the replacement window and the rehabilitation of a wood window are low and do not reflect current market standards.

Are Historic Window Energy Efficient? (2017). By Scott Sidler
http://thecraftsmanblog.com/are-historic-windows-energy-efficient/

This article discusses the comparisons between replacement windows and historic double hung windows and includes testing completed by the Window Preservation Standards Collaborative showing different types of restoration and weatherstripping techniques and their relative effectiveness on the efficiency of historic wood windows.


Reports and Studies

Testing the Energy Performance of Wood Windows in Cold Climates: A Report to the State of Vermont Division for Historic Preservation (1996). Agency of Commerce and Community. Conducted By Brad James and Dr. David Hemenway, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Vermont; Andrew Shapiro, Energy Engineer, Vermont Energy Investment Corporation; and, Steve Flanders, Research Civil Engineer, U.S. Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory.
https://www.ncptt.nps.gov/blog/testing-the-energy-performance-of-wood-windows-in-cold-climates-a-report-to-the-state-of-vermont-division-for-historic-preservation-agency-of-commerce-and-community-development-1996-08/

This study proposes to investigate “…the types of historic windows and viable methods for striking the balance between retaining a window’s historic character and energy efficiency.” In short, it was undertaken to test the assumption that historic wood windows can be retained and upgraded to approach the thermal efficiency of replacement sash or window inserts. This is a lengthy and scientific study presented in a scholarly format.


A Comparative Study of the Cumulative Energy Use of Historical Versus Contemporary Windows (2010). By Frank Shirley, AIA. Fred Gamble, PhD, Jarod Galvin, RA, LEED AP.
https://www.architects.org/sites/default/files/Grant%20Final%20Report%2012-3-2010.pdf

This study provides a great side by side comparison of the life-cycle costs of historic windows and replacement windows. The study was conducted in a pre-1940 house in Boston, Massachusetts and provides the total present value of all costs associated with a window system over its entire life. The study offers reasonable cost information and a great bibliography.


Saving Windows, Saving Money: Evaluating the Energy Performance of Window Retrofit and Replacement (2016). Produced by the Preservation Green Lab.
http://forum.savingplaces.org/connect/community-home/librarydocuments/viewdocument?DocumentKey=59eab0e4-f0f4-45c5-97c8-147a8def82ae&CommunityKey=00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000&tab=librarydocuments

Among the most recent reports on this topic, this report offers insight for homeowners weighing the financial and energy tradeoffs between repairing and replacing historic windows. The analysis builds on previous research by examining numerous window improvement projects and comparing them to replaced windows across multiple climate regions. This report offers property owners, contractors, and design professionals convincing evidence of the merits of retrofitting windows as opposed to outright replacement. Local municipalities struggling with the issues of repairing or replacing their windows would also benefit from reading this report. 


Presentations

Historic Denver, et al., "A Dollars and Sense Approach to Windows and Energy Efficiency," www.historicdenver.org (2012)

Books

Jordan, Steve, The Window Sash Bible: a A Guide to Maintaining and Restoring Old Wood Windows,  Feb 16, 2015

The Window Sash Bible is about the repair, maintenance, restoration and improvement of old or historic windows made from about 1800 to 1940. With so much misinformation provided by replacement window contractors and vendors, this book aids homeowners, do-it-yourselfers, carpenters, architects, designers, preservation commission members, and anyone in the old-house business make sound decisions about windows. Since most homeowners are unaware of their alternatives, The Window Sash Bible provides an array of options to save money, energy, and historic windows for decades to come.  

Buy


Sidler, Scott, Old Windows Made Easy

Old Windows Made Easy is the book for anyone who wants to learn the art of window restoration. This is NOT some technical manual that covers a bunch of obscure facts and techniques that only professional preservationists will find useful. Is is NOT a comprehensive explanation of the history and function of wood windows.

Buy


Meany, Terry, Working Windows: A Guide to the Repair and Restoration of Wood Windows

This definitive book covers the operation, care, repair, and restoration of all kinds of wood windows, along with chapters on weather-stripping, repainting, and refinishing.

Buy






Leeke, John   Save America's Windows

Covers traditional methods and the latest in modern high-tech materials and techniques. Specific step-by-step repair and maintenance treatments. Window project profiles. 177 pages, 257 illustrations.

Buy

Window Preservation Standards Book

The national Window Preservation Standards book catalogs specific methods for the assessment, 

maintenance, repair, preservation and weatherization of older and historic wooden windows. Many detailed methods, procedures and materials are included, as well as basic strategies for saving older and historic windows. The Standards were developed and written by more than 100 window specialists who collaborated from all across the United States and Canada. 107 pages with 49 illustrations, color cover, black & white interior, 8.5″ x 11″.

Buy

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