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Introduction to energy efficient improvements to historic homes and listed builpdings.

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.

This guide is primarily aimed at the owners of the hundreds of thousands of historic homes in the UK which are either listed or lie within a conservation area. In England and Wales Part L of the Building Regulations requires that ‘sensible and reasonable’ energy efficiency measures be incorporated during refurbishment work and it is vital that homeowners understand just what this entails. The case studies in this document describe recent refurbishment projects on a range of historic homes dating from the 16th to the 19th centuries, all of which included energy efficiency improvements. They illustrate just what can be achieved while taking into account a building’s historic significance, performance characteristics, design and the materials it is made of (i.e. its ‘fabric’).

There is generally no reason why historic homes should not be reasonably efficient, comfortable and healthy.

Due to their special circumstances they may, however, be treated as special cases in terms of the energy efficiency measures expected by the building control officer. It is important to consider how to reduce carbon dioxide contributions to climate change in any construction work.

For a modest investment, energy efficiency features may quickly save money (especially as fuel prices are expected to rise significantly in the future), while in some cases extending the useful life of the building.

With historic properties, the Building Regulations in England and Wales permit the building control officer to adopt a ‘reasonable’ approach, balancing conservation of fuel and power against the need to conserve the fabric (it is important that any changes  avoid condensation problems, though). The finaldecision will depend on the individual circumstances.

It may be regarded as reasonable to upgrade the fabric when undertaking extensive work anyway.

On the other hand, upgrading floors and windows, for example, may be judged quite unreasonable if done purely to comply with the letter of the latest regulations, or some other well meaning but illconsidered reason.































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