Danville History Resources
Available at Colby Memorial Library, Danville, NH
Links to Other Sites
Preservationists are already sold on the wisdom of keeping historic windows. Not only are they character-defining in most buildings, but they also have a proven track record of 50 or 100 or 150 (or more!) years. What modern replacement window has that kind of guarantee? What we need to have, though, are strategies for dragging doubters onto this bandwagon. One of the best ways to do this is often money. We may hear that "new windows are so much more energy efficient," but a number of studies (see the links below) have proven that properly maintained historic wood windows, fitted with good storm windows, can be just as energy efficient as new windows -- and they can cost less up front. Wood windows built before WW II are often old growth timber, an irreplaceable resource that is sustainable and almost infinitely repairable. Most new windows are not repairable. When one part wears out, the whole sash must be replaced. Up to 30% of replacement windows require replacement in less than 10 years; few last 30 years. Yet it can take more than 200 years to recoup the cost of new ones through energy savings. With basic maintenance, many historic wood windows can last another century.
If you have historic wood windows in your house or in a local building, how can you make them winter-ready?
Check the locks and weather-stripping to make sure the windows close tightly.
Make sure the storm windows are installed correctly and are fully closed.
If you have condensation issues, these can tell you where the problem is: moisture on the inside of the window, facing the room, indicates cold air leaking through the storm window is the likely problem. Moisture on the outside of the window, facing the storm, indicates warm air leaking from the interior of the house out.
To find out more about repairing historic windows, check out these resources:
New England Window Restoration Alliance (NEWRA): http://windowrestorationne.org/
Window Basics, from the National Trust for Historic Preservation: http://www.preservationnation.org/information-center/sustainable-communi...
"The Vermont Window Study," a classic early (1996) study on energy performance: https://ncptt.nps.gov/blog/testing-the-energy-performance-of-wood-window...
"Saving Windows, Saving Money," a more recent (2012) version of the same type of study from the Preservation Green Lab: https://ncptt.nps.gov/blog/saving-windows-saving-money/
The Evolution of Window Sashes: http://www.nh.gov/nhdhr/publications/documents/window_sash_handout.pdf.