There's a nip in the air--a reminder that we're heading toward winter. It's time to think of buttoning up your house for the cold months ahead. For some, unfortunately, that means contemplating replacement windows. If you're thinking of replacing original pre-World War II wood windows with something new, think again.
Over and over, preservation architects have made the case that old wood windows are superior to anything available today and with proper maintenance and weather-stripping can be as energy efficient as the new thermopane windows claim to be. What's also becoming clear is that replacement don't last as long as the old growth wood windows that were originally installed in the houses of Hudson more than a hundred years ago. The Historic Preservation Commission regularly receives applications for certificates of appropriateness to replace windows that were installed just twenty or thirty years ago (probably replacing the original wood windows), proving the truth of what preservation architect Jill Gotthelf, coauthor with Walter Sedovic of "What Replacement Windows Can't Replace," once quipped: "They're called replacement windows because you have to replace them every twenty or thirty years."
One of the beauties of original wood windows--besides the fact that they are character defining elements of a building's design--is that they can be repaired. Every part of them can be replaced. This is not true for new windows. When they fail, the only option is to cart them off to a landfill and get new ones.
To educate Hudsonians in the care and keeping of old wood windows, architect member of the Historic Preservation Commission, Jack Alvarez will be conducting a window workshop on Saturday, October 26, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the Chamber of Commerce, 1 North Front Street. An advocate for preserving original wood windows, Alvarez is the coauthor of "Restoring Our Appreciation of Historic Wood Windows," with his wife and partner in the Albany firm Landmark Consulting, Kimberly Konrad Alvarez, and regularly conducts workshops on restoring and repairing wood windows. In June, he held such a workshop in Albany, which was reported on in the Times Union: "Clear favorites: Retaining old windows preserves architecture and dollars."
The workshop is presented by the Historic Preservation Commission in collaboration with Historic Hudson, Inc.
Photo credits: Kimberly Konrad Alvarez and Matthew Hamilton/Times Union