Weatherization of windows
The folks who sell those no-maintenance-required! vinyl windows are all over the Federal money for weatherization. I am being inundated with direct mail encouraging me to rip out my old windows and buy new (see previous post).
A lot of windows with a lot of life left in them if maintained are going to end up in the trash, replaced with windows with a short life-span that will end up in the trash when the seals fail not-so-many years from now. The general consensus is that old windows are just not energy efficient; new is better! (No, no! Wrong — see this, or see below for excerpt/summary)
Oh, I quake in my boots thinking of windows like this fine one on Wayne Avenue being ripped out and trashed by one of those direct mail window guys. About the blank eye replacement they will insert in its place. Can we use the trick the police employ, where we invite window guys to come to a hotel ballroom where they can claim free baseball tickets, but once they get there we’ll lock the doors behind them and give them a talking to about energy efficiency, storm windows, and old-growth wood windows in old houses?
Our study of old windows showed that the energy savings are similar for a variety of retrofit and replacement strategies. Rates of return on investment for energy improvements are quite low when starting with typical or tight windows with storms in place, but are significantly higher when renovating loose windows with no storm.
For preservations, the good news is that with a proper choice of renovation strategy and good workmanship, historic sashes can be almost as energy-efficient as replacements. Window renovators and homeowners can give more weight to comfort, maintenance, lead abatement, egress requirements, durability, ease of operation–and historical value–without sacrificing energy savings. For those of us who work with old windows, this is very good news indeed.