Everthing Old Is New Again
The House of Seven Gables, listed on the register of National Historic treasures, was built in 1668 and is the oldest surviving 17th century wooden mansion in New England. The house inspired Nathaniel Hawthorne to write his legendary novel of the same name. The original building, a two room, two-and-a-half story construction with cross gables and a massive central chimney, now forms the middle of the house. A new wing added in 1680 introduced the signature double casement windows. Over the years, the House showed its antiquity in the aging of the furnishings, floors and fabric wall coverings as the costs for heating and cooling skyrocketed with the sun’s heat pouring in through the windows in the summer and heat escaping in the winter.
Curator and Director of Preservation and Collection Care for Seven Gables, Alexandria Mason, took action to preserve the historic site. At the annual Traditional Building Conference, she met with solar control experts at the Vista by LLumar window film exhibit and commissioned an independent energy audit to be led by a graduate engineer from the University of Cambridge in England. The auditors recommended the installation of Vista by LLumar SpectraSelect VS70 film on storm windows as the condition of the casement windows precluded the installation of film on the individual panes. Vista VS70 SpectraSelect blocks 45 percent of the sun’s heat from entering the House and yet allows 70 percent of visible light to shine through the windows. The film also blocks more than 99 percent of the sun’s ultraviolet light, helping protect against premature fading.*
Alexandria Mason now finds that the utility bills are lower. The House of Seven Gables has a uniform temperature comfortable at all times and she can take comfort in the knowledge that the House is protected from the sun’s damaging rays to help block further deterioration of the interior furnishings.