Banister Hall may radiate warmth: central to life on the Bowdoin College campus in Brunswick, Maine, it’s part of an iconic building through which students continually flow. But in the winter, it’s just plain cold.
As with many treasured historic buildings, the striking arched windows in this Romanesque building designed by Richard Upjohn are single-pane glass and drafty. The exterior storm windows just didn’t look right and so the college took them down. Neither did the plastic sheeting.
But it didn’t give up on finding a solution. The campus sustainability coordinator had been working to reduce Bowdoin’s carbon footprint through measures such as weatherization, switching from oil to natural gas and installing energy-efficient lighting. She reached out to Indow to do a pilot test with a single office on the building’s south side.
The thermal inserts made a big difference. “They eliminated the draft,” said Caitlin Callahan, assistant director of the McKeen Center for the Common Good, who worked in the office at the time.
But she noticed something else too: the chapel bells that ring every quarter hour were quieter.
“If it’s blocking that much sound, it’s helping with the cold.”
So the college purchased 19 Indow inserts for the building’s south side. Because Indow inserts are precisely measured to fit any window, the inserts were custom fit to the stunning arches and batwing windows. The north side of Banister Hall houses the American Musicological Society, which is now interested in having Indow inserts as well.
They’re nearly invisible, said Shawn Gerwig, administrative coordinator for the McKeen Center. “Unless you know they’re there, you don’t know they’re there.”
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