This weekend’s Washington Post had an article saying what we keep saying: there are much more cost-effective (not to mention historically appropriate) ways to increase your house’s energy efficiency than wood window replacement. Our colleague Erin Tobin, a Rochester native who now covers eastern New York State and New York City as a regional director of technical and grant programs for the Preservation League of New York State, had this comment on the article:
At least this article debunks the myth that replacing windows will save lots of money in energy bills, although it does repeat the falsehood that replacement windows will last for “decades” (how about “decade” if you’re lucky). I’m glad to see the quotes from some of the energy auditors, but who is talking to the federal Energy Star people? Not even a mention of storm windows? And nothing about screens and summertime efficiency (aka fresh air).
The point Erin makes about the short lifespan of replacement windows is one I make in my own talks on sustainability, and I like to cite Donovan Rypkema, a historic preservation expert who says: “Regardless of the manufacturers’ ‘lifetime warranties’, thirty percent of the windows being replaced each year are less than 10 years old.“ Throwing out vinyl windows after less than 10 years doesn’t sound all that “green,” does it?
Posted by Katie Eggers Comeau, Director of Preservation Services