Window Preservation Standards Collaborative Narrative
Editor: Bob Yapp
Update: February 24, 2011
(minor edits by John Leeke, 6/20/11)
In the Fall of 2010 the top preservation trades people in North America and Europe gathered for the International Preservation Trades Workshop in Frankfort, Kentucky. Among this astounding group of artisans were some of the top window restoration experts in the country. Five of these window experts, Bob Yapp, John Leeke, Jim Turner, David Gibney and Duffy Hoffman met and decided it was time to create national standards for the repair and weatherization of old and historic windows. Absent from the initial IPTW meeting, Bill Hole was later invited to join the team of experts in this collaborative. We call this endeavor the Window Preservation Standards Collaborative (WPSC).
There is an immediate need for standards that include well researched energy data as well as a menu of proven methods used to repair and restore historic windows. We cannot wait for years or decades for a standard to “evolve” since the replacement window industry is now actively destroying millions of historic and perfectly functional old windows every month.
Based on the replacement window industry's claim in Glass Magazine that 8 billion dollars is spent every year on replacement windows, it seems fair to say that if each replacement window opening costs an average of $500, we could be seeing as many as 32 million classic, old growth, upper and lower wood window sashes end up in our landfills yearly. If we assume these numbers are inflated by the industry, say only 2 billion dollars per year, that would still be 8 million wood sashes in the dump every year. Obviously there is nothing green or environmentally sound about this tragedy.
The other part of the urgency stems from the reality that the quicker we put this effort into play, the less time the replacement window industry has to spent their tens of millions in marketing money to try and discredit this critical and objective effort. As a result of the window replacement industry's dominance in marketing and pursuing relationships with architects, specifiers, consultants, contractors and property developers, they have hijacked the narrative. Just because they claim their products are superior does not make it true and in most cases, their comparative claims are not based on facts or independent research.
Over the last 30 years there has been a small group of window restoration experts, teaching, repairing, restoring and weatherizing historic windows. For years we all seemed to hear a collective yawn about one of the most important architectural and functional elements of historic properties- windows. Things have changed. From the National Trust for Historic Preservation to statewide preservation groups to State Offices of Historic Preservation to local preservation groups and Historic Preservation Commissions, saving historic windows has risen to the top of the agenda.
As a result, more and more architects, specifiers, consultants, contractors and property developers are interested in specifying the weatherization and repair of historic windows with little information on standards they can use to do so. It is our purpose to change this by providing definitive energy testing data as well as standards for sustainable window repair, restoration and weatherization.
The bottom line: if we don't act now, historic windows lose.
What Needs To Be Done
Step #1 Draft Window Preservation Standards
The founding members of The Window Preservation Standards Collaborative will create an initial draft set of standards for the repair, restoration, preservation and weatherization of historic wood and steel windows. We estimate each founding member will contribute over 300 hours of time researching, writing, meeting and demonstrating. This amount of time exceeds the honorarium for each member we have listed in the funding budget.
The purpose is to document the “means and methods” that are used to arrive at a known and
recognizable result. Specific methods, procedures and materials will be included, we will not, however, include specific brand names or products.
This will be done with communications among the founding members by emails, phone conferences and two, face-to-face meetings between January 2011 and June 2011. One of these meeting will be at The Pine Mountain Settlement School. We can then pick the openings to be restored, take the sashes back to our shops and prepare them in advance. We can also measure for the storm windows each will use so they can be ordered or made in plenty of time before the Summit.
Step #2 Collaboration with Advisers and Stakeholders
This website has been set up in order to expedite the participation of a group of 25 to 30 Advisers and 100 to 200 stakeholders. Advisers will be invited to participate in the Summit. Stakeholders can be anyone with a direct interest in window preservation, including:
• Facilities managers
• Educators and trainers
• Contractors who will be working to meet these standards
• Homeowners and building owners, who hire contractors and trades people
• Independent Trades people, who will be working to meet these standards
• Government agencies & other not-for-profit stakeholders
One month before the summit the "Draft Standards" will be posted at the website so advisers and stakeholders can easily post questions and comments. These comments will be incorporated into the "Draft Standards".
Step #3 National Window Preservation Summit
Once the "Draft Standards", with comments incorporated, are completed, WPSC will sponsor a National Window Preservation Summit at The Pine Mountain Settlement School (PMSS) in Pine Mountain Kentucky. The Kentucky Heritage Council (KHC) has agreed to be a partner and assist with planning and implementation of the summit. The three day summit will be held July 26, 27 & 28, 2011. (tentative dates, pending final confirmations)
PMSS is the location of the Pine Mountain School for Practical Preservation founded in 2002 by KHC and collaborative Founder Bob Yapp. The property is a National Historic Landmark with every variety of wood and steel windows. The PMSS has facilities to feed and house up to 60 participants. We will invite 25 to 35 key advisers from across the country to attend this summit. We will also open the Summit up to 25 to 35 Observers. While Observers will not be involved in the day to day commenting on the demonstrated standards, they will be able to witness the process and be key to the promotion of the Standards. We will also video and voice record all proceedings.
Founders will demonstrate the restoration & weatherization methods daily with
comments by the advisors at the end of each morning and afternoon session.
Energy testing will be done to establish the efficiency of the various standards that have been adjusted according to the Advisors comments and recommendations.
Step #4 Edit and Publish the Standards Document
Editing and publish the standards document will be done by a writer and editor with experience in preservation trades publications. John Leeke, a project Founder collaborator, has agreed to be the editor. The Collaborative and the editor will finalize the standards document. Publishing will be done with a Print on Demand (POD) service that has zero upfront costs. We will submit the edited Standards to our advisers for final comment before the final version goes to print.
Sales and Revenue
Sales of the standards document will support ongoing printing, fulfillment and future development of the standards project. Printing and fulfillment will be fully funded directly by users of the standards when they purchase copies of the standards from the POD service at retail pricing. Users will be able to purchase copies of the standards from the POD by ordering online. These purchases can be made by credit card, Paypal, or other online payment services. They may also be able to buy copies directly from the non-profit partner and pay by check or credit card.
The non-profit partner will be the recipient of and control all funds and will also be the recipient of revenues from the sale of the Standards. The founding Collaborative members only compensation is the honorariums and reimbursement for material and supply expenses incurred during the project.
There are two sources of revenue: payments from the POD service, and sales made by the non-profit partner. The non-profit partner will disburse project monies to support ongoing marketing and development of the standards, to include support for the website, and a project to revise the standards after one or two years.
The WPSC intends to raise $119,500 to properly support this project. Bob Yapp has
agreed to write grants and assist our not-for-profit, national partner organization. It should be noted that after the initial fundraising, the project will be self supported through sales of the Standards. No additional grants or funding will be needed.
Next Steps after publication of the Standards
1. Use the Standards to promote window preservation, use them to help plan your project, use them out in the field to guide your window work, use them to save some older and historic windows.
2. Monitor the use of the Standards, mainly through questions, comments and by posting your window stories here at the website.
3. Revise the Standards to more closely meet the needs of those using the Standards.
(Let us know what you think of the project by clicking "Post Reply" below.)
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