I love the integrity of architecture from different periods. Each style of home reflects the concerns, the dreams, the optimism and the fears of the period when it was built. An important consideration, when remodeling, is to be true to the architecture, the feeling, the gesture of the existing building. I don't think remodels should be a slavish imitation of the preexisting historic style, but all should be a cohesive and appropriate addition. Sadly, this does not always happen. I think this is a valid consideration even when undertaking upgrades to increase the energy efficiency of the structure. A good remodel will ensure the building will have value for another 100 years. How green is that? A bad remodel can make a building seem worthless, a tear-down.
Therefore, I was pleased to find a great guide to selecting appropriate the appropriate steps to weatherize older buildings. The information is very interesting and complete: how to evaluate when to restore a window and when to replace, how to identify the style and detail in your existing windows, and what energy credits might be available. Most people want to do the right thing to take care of their older home, but just are not aware of the details.
The reality is that most of the energy of heating a home is lost through the walls, roof, floors and drafts. Insulating and stopping leaks is both cheaper and more effective at saving energy than replacing windows. Replacement windows can take many years to pay back their cost, and might make your house look as funky as a glamourous starlet on Oscar day that decided to wear their down jacket with their ball gown. Details matter!