December 19, 2017

How This Business Helps Make Saving Historic Windows "Paneless" for Nonprofits

  • By: Carson Bear
View from the front deck of the California case study.

photo by: Indow Windows

Indow conducted a case study in California to ensure they could effectively restore Modernist windows from the 20th century.

Before he started Indow Windows, CEO Sam Pardue lived in a Portland bungalow built in 1906. The home came complete with single-pane windows made from beautiful old wood, but the home was so drafty, the dining room candles would flicker at the slightest breeze. Pardue wasn’t a professional preservationist, but he found value in his windows, which he eventually determined were made from wood between 200 and 300 years old. Throwing away such a valuable piece of the house wouldn't just increase his carbon footprint, it would also be a detriment to the history of his home—and his community.

After successfully retrofitting his own windows, Pardue created Indow—which provides solutions for homeowners with old windows—to emphasize the importance of caring for our windows over replacing them. Not only does restoring and repairing our old windows help ensure the architectural integrity of our homes, it also creates a jumping off point for the future of preservation. Advocating for restoring historic windows can help communities engage with the built environment around them.

Since it is so mission-driven, it’s no surprise that Indow has been working with other local and national nonprofits for years. They most recently partnered with the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization in Portland, Oregon, to launch a campaign called We Hire Refugees. Their goal was to inspire small businesses to help refugees get a solid foothold on their careers, complementing the long-term work of nonprofits and faith-based organizations.

But Indow has also been working with Heritage Ohio, a statewide preservation group, since 2014. In October 2017, they kicked off a new partnership campaign to give Heritage Ohio 10 percent of profits for every Indow order placed by a member of the organization. Indow has also been working with the nonprofit to engage directly with preservation communities in Ohio, learn more about their needs, and educate them about the many benefits of saving original windows.

One challenge organizations and corporations face when they advocate for the restoration of historic windows, Indow’s Carrie Sturrock explains, is fighting against the powerful and pervasive voice of the window replacement industry. Another is working to overcome the “new is better” mentality of consumerism in the United States.

But a partnership between a business and a nonprofit can address these challenges beautifully. According to Sturrock, “Heritage Ohio is in a great position to talk to people in its communities about the benefits of preserving original windows, and [Indow is] one of a number of tools that owners of historic homes can use to make their windows more energy efficient.”

“That’s where the collaboration comes into play: We can combine the authority of a nonprofit with the resources of a corporate entity,” she says. “While this [initiative] was focused on windows, we see it as a model that can be used by other nonprofits and businesses to further preservation work.”

Indow is an advertiser with the National Trust's Preservation magazinemagazine.

Carson Bear was an Editorial Coordinator at the National Trust. She’s passionate about combining popular culture with historic places, and loves her 200-year-old childhood farmhouse in Pennsylvania.

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