Rick Nevin
The Lead Safe Window Replacement Strategy

    Lead-safe window replacement is defined as the following simple four-step upgrade in homes with single-pane windows:

  1. Replace all single-pane windows with ENERGY STAR windows
  2. Stabilize any significantly deteriorated paint
  3. Perform specialized cleaning to remove any lead-contaminated dust
  4. Perform dust wipe tests to confirm absence of lead dust hazards after cleanup

    Windows have the highest levels of lead in paint of any building component, lead paint chips are common in old window troughs, and friction surfaces on old windows create lead dust hazards even in homes without any deteriorated lead paint.  Lead paint was banned after 1978, double-pane windows became widely used in cold climates in the 1980s, and low-e windows that reduce solar gain to save on air conditioning costs became common in the 1990s.  As a result, single-pane windows in older housing are reliable indicators of lead paint hazards and inefficient energy use.

    The lead safe window replacement strategy yields long-term energy savings and lead hazard reduction benefits from window replacement, and protects against other lead risks with paint repair, as needed, plus cleanup and clearance testing for lead dust.  (Soil cover would also be required in homes with bare soil in excess of HUD regulatory standards). Substantial net economic benefits of lead safe window replacement have been documented by academic research.

Next: A Broader “Energy Efficient Healthy Home” Strategy


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