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Heat Pumps

Front cover for Heat Pumps - Energy Efficiency in Traditional Buildings

Energy Efficiency in Traditional Buildings

By Caroline Cattini, William Marshall

The installation of a renewable technology implies in most cases the fixing of equipment to the historic fabric of a building. English Heritage seeks to ensure that any works to a historic building do not unnecessarily disturb or destroy historic fabric. 

In deciding how best to incorporate a low-carbon or renewable technology, the principle of minimum intervention and reversibility should be adopted whenever and wherever possible.

Installing a heat pump system might need planning permission. The local planning authority can grant permission under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, and they will be looking for any issues regarding visual impact or proximity to land boundaries. The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), published in March 2012, describes the aim of seeking positive improvement in the quality of the built, natural and historic environments. This requires an integrated approach to sustainable development that 'encourages the use of renewable energy', but equally requires the conservation of 'heritage assets in a manner appropriate to their significance'. The NPPF and more information can be found on the DCLG website.

Installing a heat pump system on a Listed Building or a building in a Conservation Area may also need permission from the local planning authority. Work of any kind to a Scheduled Monument requires consent from the Secretary of State under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. Consent is determined by assessing the impact any work has upon the a historic asset and the significance of that asset, against any benefit of the heat pump installation.


  • Introduction
  • What is a Heat Pump?
  • Planning the installation
  • System Options
  • Using the Heat
  • Costs and Maintenance
  • Grants and Loans
  • Glossary
  • Useful Contacts
  • English Heritage Offices
  • Acknowledgements

Additional Information

  • Series: Guidance
  • Publication Status: Completed
  • Product Code: 51805


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