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LinkedIn discussion, Historic Restoration and Preservation group

August 3rd, 2009 · No Comments

“How do you feel about replacing original windows in historic building with new in the name of “energy efficiency”?

“Why do they call them replacement windows? Because you have to replace them in 15 years.”

As an architect specializing for over 30 years in historic renovations and the “greening” of historic homes, I have never seen an instance where replacement windows cost less than restored windows, last longer than restored windows, are more energy efficient than restored windows with storms, or ever look as good as the original. I also find the payback period on a restored window is half or less than that of a replacement, and frequently the replacement is being replaced before the payback is ever realized. And if you want to talk “green”, if you consider the embodied energy in an existing window, the energy requirements for manufacture and installation of a replacement window, the remarkably small amount of energy required to restore a window, the lack of energy savings from replacement vs restored, and the disposal of the original window in a landfill, the replacement window is not a green product. So why are the feds pushing replacements windows? What would you expect when the window industry writes the guidelines for them?      Gary Kleier

130 year old wood windows, in exceptional condition, were replaced with vinyl windows because the contractor said they were better. Today the owner is in trouble with the local Historic Landmarks Commission, he is experiencing severe plaster damage, the installer is out of business and the heating and AC bills haven’t changed.

Kleier Associates Architects
P.O. Box 3343
Louisville, KY 40201-3343

Tags: Champlain Valley Millworks · maintenance · Value-Added Historic Preservation · windows

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