There are a lot of window replacement manufacturers out there trying to convince homeowners that they will save energy and money by replacing their historic wood windows. This approach not only removes original historic fabric from buildings but also costs homeowners much more in the end and starts and endless cycle of wholesale replacement every 10-20 years or so. The following presentation was the outline for a recent presentation in St. Petersburg on the issues that historic building owners need to be aware of before writing the big check to replace their original wood windows given by Tampa Preservation board member, Jo-Anne Peck of Historic Shed.
St. Petersburg Preservation, Inc. (SPPI) offers guided walking tours that take guests on a detailed tour of downtown St. Petersburg and beyond. Participants see the jewels of St. Peterburg’s past while learning about the founding of the city and its historic architecture from tour leaders Kai Warren and Peter Belmont.
SPPI offers three tours: the Downtown Historic Walking Tour, Westward Ho from the Waterfront, and the newest tour addition, North by Old Northeast. This brand new tour takes in the downtown waterfront, a portion of the Historic Old Northeast Neighborhood, including an insider’s stop in a restored home, and ends at the Vinoy Hotel.
Cost to participate is just $5 for the Downtown Walking Tour and $10 for the Westward Ho Walking Tour, which you can apply toward a SPPI membership if you join that day. Reservations are requested but not required. For more information on the tours go to www.stpetepreservation.org or call (727) 824-7802.
There is an article in a Washington state newspaper today entitled “Historic preservation a key component of downtown revitalization” that discusses a talk given by noted preservation economist Donovan Rypkema. The article mentions many of Rypkema’s speech points related to downtown revitalization, LEED requirements, economic development and how historic preservation factors in.
According to Rypkema, “Too often, communities are turning to so-called green building and boasting of their energy efficiency, through Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification, while ignoring the environmental cost of demolishing structures and hauling debris to a landfill. More and more, this LEED certification is being used as a club to demolish historic buildings.”
Please check out the article as well as some of Rykema’s other resources to learn more about the economics of historic preservation.
The annual list of the nation’s most threatened significant historic resources came out today. A Florida resource once again made the list: Miami Marine Stadium, Virginia Key, Fla.— Completed in 1963, Miami Marine Stadium is both a South Florida landmark and an icon of modern design. Built entirely of poured concrete and featuring a dramatically cantilevered folded-plate roof, the stadium is a sentimental favorite of many Miami residents. After sustaining damage during Hurricane Andrew in 1992, the stadium, a prime target for developers, closed and has since suffered from years of deterioration, vandalism and neglect.
To see information about this and the other ten resources and to find out what you can do to help, go to the National Trust blog announcement.
Well, you apparently do care. Gallup’s annual environmental poll in April 2008 showed that 83% of Americans reported they have made either major or minor changes in their lifestyles to protect the environment. 55% of this number was categorized as “minor changes” but it still astonishes me how far we’ve come.
Let’s be clear, nothing is greener than an old house or building. All of the quality material and labor that went into building your existing house has already been spent. In other words, the natural gas, oil & coal used to make the electricity to run the machines to fabricate the wood, stone, brick, concrete, shingles and glass has already been used.
By recycling, renovating, or finding a new use for an older structure, you are using a tiny percentage of the fuels it took to make that house in the first place. The primary goal of being green is to use products that: use the fewest fossil fuels to make, transport and operate; recycle existing materials; pollute the least; create the fewest health risks; last the longest (sustainability).
What’s facinating about this is you’d think the green movement in America was a new idea. To the contrary, the people who started the historic preservation movement over fifty years ago are the true founders. Both a desire to save our architectural heritage and just plain old cost effective, self sufficiency were and are the driving forces behind the main preservation ethic of saving and therby recycling the original materials in our existing built environment.
What could possibly be more green than retaining original old growth wood windows, siding, trim, doors and flooring by continuing their use and keeping them out of our bloated landfills? The replacement window industry calculates they do about 8 billion dollars a year in gross business. Based on this number I calculate over 11 million wood window sashes made from precious old growth trees, needlessly end up in our landfills yearly.
New, less harmfull techniques in cost effective lead paint removal, window restoration and weatherizing are starting to make a dent in the way organizations are rating existing and historic stuctures.
The least green endeavor is to build a new structure. New products by their very nature are rarely green. I’m not suggesting we shouldn’t build new and innovative architecture but we need to re-evaluate some of the more common materials in our lives.
For instance, polyvinyl chloride (PVC or vinyl). This plastic is in our cars, flooring, windows, siding, wallpaper, shower curtains, blinds, bathtubs, plumbing pipe, childrens toys and carpet to name a few. Yet, it is one of the least green materials on the planet. It takes petroleum (oil) and chlorine to make this product. The manufacturing process is highly polluting and toxic to living beings.
The center for Health, Environment and Justice has this to say, “PVC (polyvinyl chloride) plastic, commonly referred to as vinyl, is one of the most hazardous consumer products ever created. PVC is dangerous to human health and the environment throughout its entire life cycle, at the factory, in our homes, and in the trash. Our bodies are contaminated with poisonous chemicals released during the PVC lifecycle, such as mercury, dioxins, and phthalates, which may pose irreversible life-long health threats. When produced or burned, PVC plastic releases dioxins, a group of the most potent synthetic chemicals ever tested, which can cause cancer and harm the immune and reproductive systems.”
So, when old house owners repair original materials instead of replacing them, they define what it means to be “green”.
For information on green alternatives to a variety of non-green products go to www.healthybuilding.net or for the LEED green rating standards go to www.usgbc.org
Copyright December 2008. Posted with permission from Bob Yapp. Mr. Yapp is president of Preservation Resources, Inc and The Belvedere School for Hands-On Preservation, both in Hannibal, Missouri. He is a furniture maker, old house restorer, author, teacher, preservation consultant & hosted the national PBS series “About Your House with Bob Yapp”. Bob can be reached at email@example.com
Serving on the Awards Jury were Roger Grunke, AIA, Bob Jefferies, AIA, Gus Paras, AIA along with TPI Board Members Becky Clarke, Beth Strong, and Nootchie Smith. Many thanks for their hard work!
Residential Restoration Achievement Awards were awarded to the following projects:
505 E. Amelia Ave.
1301 E. Columbus Dr.
919 W. Kentucky
813 S. Packwood
The Arlington Building – 1209-1229 N. Franklin Street
The Berriman-Morgan Cigar Factory – 1403 N. Howard Ave.
The Tampa Fire Fighters Museum – 720 E. Zack Street
The Silk Purse Award is given to a project that rescues a vacant neglected building through careful renovations affecting a positive visual and economic impact on the neighborhood and community. Silk Purse Awards were given to the following:
1202 N. Franklin Street – Fly Restaurant
3701 Henderson Blvd. – Square One Burger Restaurant
An Individual Achievement Award recognized Nancy Henderson for her artistic pen and ink drawings of Tampa’s historic buildings. Her renderings have promoted an awareness of and appreciation for Tampa’s architectural heritage.
Certificates of Appreciation were given to Elaine Lund for her contributions to the TPI newsletter Cornerstone and to Richard Clarke for countless years of his photographic documentation of TPI Events.