May 19 2011 12:00 AM

215 N. Capitol Ave., Lansing


Property: 215 N. Capitol Ave., Lansing

Owner: Central United Methodist Church

Assessed value: $0

Misconceived notions can have damaging effects. In the
name of energy efficiency, people are quick to replace irreplaceable
windows on historic buildings at the expense of both the architecture
and the environment. The greenest window isn’t a spanking new window but
an existing one. Window restoration is preferable, period.

Central United Methodist Church in downtown Lansing is
leading the way. At present, the more than century-old monumental
stained glass window located on the west wall of the sanctuary is
undergoing a complete restoration. According to John McCartney, restorer
of the Central Methodist window, stained glass — more than any other
window type — is site specific. Restoration of the window preserves the
architecture and the embodied energy, or the energy required to extract,
process, manufacture, transport and install building materials. 

Been quite a while since you admired the glorious stained
glass windows on this Richardsonian Romanesque church? This may be a
good time to reacquaint yourself. The restoration will be completed in
two weeks. 

Without the
stained-glass windows, the overall aesthetics of this church would be
completely changed. However, it's not just stained-glass windows that
make the difference. The fact is, windows can truly make or break a
beautiful building. Even simple six-over-six wood frame windows matter.
If the original design of the building was intended to have
six-over-six wood frame window but those windows are replaced with a
smaller vinyl window, it completely changes the quality and character
of the building. Windows are as important to the building as an other
architectural detail.