Energy Efficiency and Historic Buildings

Our free to download publications includes a suite of technical advice and guidance on improving the energy efficiency of historic buildings.

The drivers to improve energy efficiency are usually to:

  • Reduce carbon emissions and fuel bills,
  • Improve comfort levels
  • Comply with statutory requirements such as Part L of the Building Regulations or the Private Rented Sector Regulations

This suite of guidance includes:

  • Our whole house approach to improving energy efficiency
  • Advice on statutory requirements
  • Guidance on installing energy efficiency measures

How to improve energy efficiency

Our overarching guidance How to Improve Energy Efficiency sets out our ‘whole building approach’ which considers:

  • Context
  • Construction
  • Condition
  • Historic significance
  • An understanding of all the factors that affect energy use, and
  • How to devise an energy efficiency strategy for any building

Checklists of potential improvements are included and their respective benefits, comparative costs and technical risks.

Energy Efficiency and Historic Buildings: How to Improve Energy Efficiency

Published 29 June 2018

This guidance is for anyone who wishes to improve energy efficiency in an historic building.

Building Regulations and energy efficiency

Our guidance Application of Part L of the Building Regulations to historic and traditionally constructed buildings provides advice on resolving potential conflicts between the requirements of Part L and the conservation of historic buildings. It also acts a second tier guidance to the Approved Documents L1B and L2B.


 

Energy Efficiency and Historic Buildings - Application of Part L of the Building Regulations to historic and traditionally constructed buildings

Published 8 December 2017

This guidance provides technical advice to help prevent conflicts between energy efficiency requirements in Part L of the Building Regulations and the conservation of historic and traditionally constructed buildings.

Guidance is also available on Energy Performance Certificates, which includes the type of information included in an EPC, how it is calculated and its limitations as an assessment method when applied to older buildings.

Advice for homeowners and those managing or renting historic or older buildings who may need to commission an EPC.

Energy Efficiency and Historic Buildings: Energy Performance Certificates

Published 14 May 2015

Advice for homeowners and those managing or renting historic or older buildings who may need to commission and EPC or who have received one for an older property that has been purchased or rented.

Guidance on installing insulation and draught-proofing

Our guidance offers advice on the principles, risks, materials and methods of installing insulation and draught-proofing of

Energy efficiency research

Our guidance is informed by research on understanding the energy performance of historic buildings and the effects of energy efficiency measures.

Some improvements may not deliver the savings predicted and can harm the building, and the health and well-being of its occupants.

Our current five main areas of investigation are:

  • Thermal performance of traditional buildings
  • Moisture accumulation in building fabric due to energy efficiency measures
  • Modelling of hygrothermal behaviour of building fabric as a risk assessment tool
  • Whole building approach to energy saving in historic buildings
  • The SPAB Building Performance Survey

Further information can be found on our research pages.

Sustainable Traditional Buildings Alliance (STBA) guidance

Historic England is one of the supporting organisations that make up the STBA, a forum for sustaining and improving traditionally constructed buildings.

The STBA's website offers guidance on:

  • Planning Responsible Retrofit of Traditional Buildings
  • The Responsible Retrofit Guidance Wheel
  • What is Whole House Retrofit?

Planning Responsible Retrofit of Traditional Buildings

Part funded by Historic England, this guidance looks at the complexity and uncertainty in the way older buildings, new technologies, nature and people all perform and interact. By taking a ‘whole building approach’ risks and liabilities can be reduced.

STBA published guidance on retrofitting traditional buildings based on current research and practice.

Planning Responsible Retrofit of Traditional Buildings

Published 1 July 2015

The guidance looks at the complexity and uncertainty in the way that older buildings, new technologies, nature and people perform and interact and how by taking a realistic whole building approach risks and liabilities can be reduced.

The Responsible Retrofit Guidance Wheel

Funded by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (now part of the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy), the guidance wheel is an online interactive tool. It lets you look at how over 50 measures interact and the risks to consider before installing.

STBA guidance wheel
© STBA

What is Whole House Retrofit?

This guidance outlines the ‘whole building approach’ to retrofit which takes a holistic approach based on the context of the building taking account uncertainty, the complexity of interactions and conflicting values.

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