Home energy use is responsible for 27 per cent of UK carbon dioxide emissions which contribute to climate change. By following The Energy Saving Trust’s best practice standards, new build and refurbished housing will be more energy efficient – reducing these emissions and saving energy, money and the environment.
- listed buildings
The local planning department (which may have a conservation officer) will determine the specific requirements for any work proposed to historic homes. The type of work requiring Listed Building Consent varies with the building classification.
- conservation areas
Buildings in a conservation area are part of the character and history which is being preserved. As planning controls will apply, seek advice from the local planning authority early in the process.
- existing fabric
It is vital that the unique characters of historic homes are not put at risk by unsympathetic alterations, unnecessary intervention, or changing environmental conditions: each owner is, after all, only a temporary guardian of this heritage.
While draughtproofing can be worthwhile in some older dwellings, it can lead to increased moisture levels and cause serious problems with dampness in others. Mould growth and rot damage can occur in a building that has had a stable ventilation rate for hundreds of years.
In historic homes it is not usually possible to achieve the ideal of a uniform level of insulation around the building. This means that there are likely to be gaps known as ‘thermal bridges’.
Building services can cause particular problems in historic homes as pipes and wiring are laid into all the main rooms and penetrate the historic fabric. Beware of causing further damage and consider re-using existing services that can be upgraded or repaired.
- water conservation
Minimising consumption and eliminating waste of water resources is an important environmental issue.
Older homes may contain asbestos in various forms, such as boarding materials, ceiling finishes and pipe insulation.
If there is any chance of bats using the roofspace, be aware that the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (WCA) protects bats and their roosts in England, Scotland and Wales. As bats generally return to the same roosts every year, the roosts are protected whether bats are present or not.
- check list
1 Before carrying out any work on a building, contact the local authority’s conservation and planning departments to see if the property is listed, is subject to an Article 4.2 or 4.1 direction, or is in a conservation area.
Hopefully, some of the energy saving measures in these case studies will offer guidance for energy efficient options in historic homes. Preparation is the key and will help to avoid problems, as well as saving time and money.