Barriers to the Conservation of Pre-World War II Residential Wood Windows
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The decision to practise conservation or replacement of deteriorated building components is a highly polarised issue between many building owners, product suppliers, contractors and heritage advocates. Many stakeholders have an attitude that new is better than old. This is especially true with windows, when considering whether to practise conservation on deteriorated original wood windows or whether to replace them with new windows. Most window suppliers and contractors recommend window replacement with new vinyl replacement windows, stressing energy savings and maintenance free installations. Advocates of conservation stress the importance of conservation for cultural heritage value, environmental benefits and economic benefits. Conservation advocates also refute that new replacement windows provide significant energy savings. Vast numbers of pre-World War II residential wood windows continue to be replaced with new replacement windows. Acknowledging replacement is often the option of choice, this research study addresses the question, are there barriers to the conservation of pre-World War II residential wood windows? This study includes surveys and interviews with homeowners and other stakeholders to obtain their opinions of the reasons for choosing either conservation or replacement. A case study is used for this research, which utilises the homes of the pre-World War II residential neighbourhoods in Stratford, Ontario. This research reveals that homeowners of these older houses, who have proper knowledge and resources, will have a preference for window conservation. Analysed data reveals that older residential wood windows contribute to a community’s cultural heritage value. The heritage planning implications gained from the case study demonstrates that heritage planning policies need to acknowledge older residential wood windows as a heritage resource for homeowners and the larger community.