There’s so much I could say about Olivia. She is such an old soul full of stories. Yet, she tells them quietly — matter of factly. Listening to them you begin realize after the fourth or fifth one that this young lady has lived whole lives in the space most of us haven’t even finished living one.
Olivia is also an expert when it comes to windows. Any windows. Though she prefers to work on fancy windows — stained glass or leaded — the more complex the better, she will sometimes for a friend like me lower herself to work on ordinary rope and sash windows.
Olivia is making sure all of the windows in the Hague house, most of them original, work as well as the day they were installed. Re-glazing and repairing. Re-roping and proper weighing.
As our mutual friend Anders Christensen says…
Old double hung windows with glazing, ropes, and weights are designed to be repairable. “Big Window” has very successfully convinced the public and policy makers that replacing old windows with new windows is the environmentally responsible thing to do. It may not be the Big Lie, but it is one of the many Little Lies in the realm of restoration, renovation, and remodeling…
Old, original double hung windows with glazing, ropes and pulleys can be repaired, reconditioned, and restored with materials that are readily available at any good local hardware store. If you replace your original double hungs with new factory windows, you become completely dependent upon the manufacturer for parts and repair. If the manufacturer stops making the parts or if they cease operations, you are out of luck.
Also, you don’t need to buy new windows to get good performance…
We all know that most of the heat loss of a building goes out the top. Studies have shown that the difference between properly maintained original double hung windows and new windows is negligible. Thus removing old, original windows that can be reconditioned and sending them to the landfill to be replaced by new windows that require the extraction of new natural resources from the Earth and the energy involved in manufacturing and transportation makes no environmental sense whatsoever.
So, take it from Anders, Olivia, and me… Don’t replace. Repair.