Video: Windows - Going Green without Replacement Windows

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Old is the New Green – Old Wooden Windows Are Green!





Don't Replace Old Windows, Restore Them!

In this video Matt Grocoff, the Green Renovation Expert for the Old House Web and host of Greenovation.TV, explains the benefits of restoring old windows.

When Matt first moved into his 110 year old house the windows were painted shut. He used a zipper to strip off the paint and got them to open up again. But they won't stay up.

When they're closed, the windows are incredibly inefficient. You can almost stick your pinky through the gap that lets air through.  Of course this means both energy and money are being wasted.

Matt thought his old windows were beyond saving, until his good friend and window restoration expert Lorri Sipes made a convincing argument for restoring his windows. Lori offers her reasons for restoring old windows below.

Four Reasons to Restore Old Windows

  1. The environment. Lorri tells Matt that his windows are repairable. And, of course, keeping old windows out of our landfills is just one reason window restoration is better for the environment.
  2. Energy efficiency. Lorri claims that once restored, Matt's windows could be just as energy efficient as replacement windows.
  3. Saving history. The windows on Matt's house are a hundred years old, they have stories to tell.
  4. Save Money. Restoration is cheaper than replacement. It's mainly labor, there are very few materials involved.  Lorri says she can restore the windows for less than the cost of wood replacement windows.

Lorri also notes that restoring windows is a skill that we've lost as a culture. It's something that homeowners used to be able to do themselves.  Restoring old windows is a lost art.

Matt notes that restoring windows can be cheaper than replacing windows, and in the end, you can save some really cool wavy windows. Ripping out the old windows and replacing them with brand new ones could cost up to $15,000. By restoring the windows himself for just a few hundred dollars he plans to have windows that are as good as new.

Reducing Energy Consumption Through Window Restoration

With Matt's house the aim is to include his old windows in the plan for reducing his energy consumption. His goal is to make his house net zero. He'll do that by reducing air leakage in his windows, adding some solar panels on the roof, and in the end the house will (hopefully) produce more energy that it uses.

Step one is sealing the windows really well. Step two is adding storm windows.

Matt has about 16 windows that need to be restored before he paints his house so he has his work cut out for him.

To watch more green home restoration videos check out our Going Green in an Old Home series, and remember, the green revolution begins at home.


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