2013 Windows Conference
On May 21st and 22nd, some of the nation’s leading experts on historic windows, ‘stormed’ Washington D.C. for a conference dedicated to sharing information and increasing awareness about window preservation, restoration and replacement.
The conference was hosted by Restore Media, LLC in collaboration with the US Dept. of Interior, National Parks Service. The conference was the second installment of a 4-part Traditional Building Series which will continue in Chicago this September. Although there is nothing ‘fishy’ about restoring historic windows, the Washington D.C. installment was held at the Historic Eastern Market which includes the oldest continually operated fresh food market in Washington D.C. and made for some interesting sights and smells during the conference.
Historic Eastern Market, Washington D.C.
ABATRON was an event sponsor, and Abatron’s President, Marsha Caporaso was invited to speak regarding the use of epoxies as a tool in restoring historic windows. In her remarks, Ms. Caporaso noted that in the debate over repair vs. replacement, recent authoritative studies have demonstrated that window repair/retrofit is not only about as energy efficient when compared to replacement, but it is also much more cost-effective. She also commented on restoration benefits including maintaining the original appearance of the building, keeping architectural waste out of landfills, and overall cost-savings. “Restoration is the greenest technology ever.” she noted.
Ms. Caporaso was not alone in her thinking. One of the key studies discussed at the conference was the Window Preservation Standards Collaborative at Pine Mountain Settlement School in Kentucky. This was a detailed, collaborative study which tested the performance of original and restored windows from the 1940’s. The summary of the study by Walter Sedovic Architects included this excerpt:
“Window restoration benefits local economies, since it principally involves local labor with a relatively low percentage of new material costs, thereby keeping more dollars active within a community. The skills required to thoughtfully restore heritage windows are not likely to be replaced via automation, thereby securing jobs and offering perennial opportunities for integrated education and training. As is borne out by this testing program, when heritage windows are properly upgraded toward the goal of enhanced thermal performance, they can allow for energy savings alongside reductions in operating and maintenance costs.”
Pine Mountain Settlement School, Bledsoe, KY
The interest in restoring historic buildings, and more specifically historic windows, is certainly on the rise. The windows conference was attended by several hundred architects, government planners, preservationists, building owners and managers, and tradespeople. Along with reviewing industry studies, the program also covered traditional methods and cutting edge window technologies. One attendee remarked that it was a career’s worth of knowledge presented in just two days.