Save Your Steel Windows

The Broadmoor-Broadway Village Neighborhood Association is currently in the process of nominating the Broadmoor subdivision to the National Register of Historic Places. The Arizona State Historic Preservation Office issued a “Recommendation of Potential Eligibility” for Broadmoor in 2015. After the neighborhood is listed on the National Register, qualifying properties—owner-occupied homes that contribute to the historic character of the neighborhood—will be eligible for a 35-45% reduction on their property taxes, annually. Qualifying Broadmoor homeowners could save approximately $800-1200 per year in property taxes after being listed on the National Register; assuming property values remain constant, this would translate to a savings of $8,000 to $12,000 over the next 10 years.

 

A number of houses in the Broadmoor neighborhood have recently replaced their steel-framed windows with vinyl windows. The original steel casement windows are one of the character-defining features of the houses, and replacing them with incompatible windows undermines the historic integrity of each house. In some instances this will lead to the house becoming ineligible for the National Register of Historic Places. The Neighborhood Association would like to discourage this practice so that as many houses as possible retain their integrity. If too many houses become ineligible for the National Register, the entire neighborhood will no longer be eligible for listing, or the neighborhood could lose its historic status after being listed.

 

There are alternative solutions that can improve the performance of the existing windows, and there are window replacement options that will maintain the historic integrity of the houses. Homeowners or contractors that intend to replace their windows (before the neighborhood is listed on the National Register of Historic Places) but would like to know how to keep their house eligible, should send an inquiry to history@broadmoorbroadwayvillage.com for more information.

 

Here are some general recommendations for improving window performance from the neighborhood’s consulting architect, Chris Evans:

 

1. Replace the glass within the existing steel windows. Using a high performance glass is the best option to retain the historic character of the house while reducing heat gain/loss and reducing sound transmission. This is a cost-effective solution that could be done in combination with other energy improvements, or on its own.

 

There are a couple of glass types to consider, and they vary based on energy efficiency, sound reduction, and cost. Here are some recommendations:

 

A. 3/8” laminated glass--using 1/4” Pilkington Solar-E (low-e on #1 surface), 0.03 PVB, and 1/8” clear.

This glass will reduce sound transmission by an estimated 75-88% when compared to the existing glass, based on sound performance data. It will also reduce energy gain/loss in the range of 50% when compared to the existing glass.

 

B. 5/8” to 3/4” insulated, using 1/4” PPG Solarban 70xl, 1/4-3/8” air space, 1/8” clear glass.

This glass will reduce energy gain/loss by nearly 75% compared to the existing glass. This configuration will also reduce sound transmission substantially, by an estimated 50-75%. The thicker configuration of this glass will require a different installation method.

 

C. 1/4” Pilkington Solar-E.

Reduces both sound and energy transmission by roughly 50%.

 

2.  A variation on the first solution is to keep only the original steel windows that are visible on the front elevation of the house. Replacing windows that are not visible from the street is not an issue for National Register eligibility.

 

3.  There are new steel sash windows that can be installed with insulated glass, but this is a more expensive option. If this is a solution you are interested in, consider Torrance Steel Windows.

 

If you do decide to replace the original windows, we encourage you to salvage the windows that are removed for future use in the neighborhood; some homeowners have expressed interest in restoring the original windows to regain eligibility for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.