Gibson Mill © National Trust Images John Millar

Case Studies

In this year’s Heritage Counts we discuss the use of whole life carbon of buildings, in an effort to shine light on our carbon challenge. Within this theme we also explore the need for sensitive or sympathetic retrofitting of our historic buildings.

The following case studies are just some of the successful projects seen across the UK where conserving our heritage is dealt with successfully when tackling modern building uses and energy performance.

Photo of the a sunlit front of Kenwood House with people walking along the path in front

Kenwood House, London

At Kenwood House, new technologies are being deployed to better preserve the building and its contents and improve environmental efficiency.

Photo of the rear  of a Victorian semi-detached townhouse with a new timber-clad extension - detail shot

Zetland Road, Manchester

Demonstrating that historic buildings can be made highly efficient, these adapted Victorian townhouses have met the demanding PassivHaus standard.

Photo of a bricklayer, working on a wall

Roundhouse, Birmingham

The Grade II* Roundhouse in Birmingham is being recycled through reuse as a base for land and water-based activities by the Canal and River Trust.

Image showing the energy performance of 33A Chapel Street

33A Chapel Street, Appleby

Historic England is researching flood rehabilitation methods for traditional buildings at this listed house in flood-hit Appleby.

Photo of Gloucester Cathedral looking through an arch

Gloucester Cathedral

Gloucester Cathedral was fitted with discreet solar panels, demonstrating the scope for innovative environmental thinking at such an important site.

Photo of Linton Lock Hydro across the river Ouse

Linton Lock Hydro, North Yorkshire

A listed former hydroelectric power station in North Yorkshire uses 2,000 year old technology to meet the green power challenges of the 21st century.

Aerial photo of former railway station converted into offices

West Offices, York

Historic features and modern technologies reduce energy demand at the redeveloped West Offices in York.

Photo of the inside of Bromley House Library, with shelves filled with books and a spiral staircase at the far end

Bromley House Library, Nottingham

Our Midlands team reflects on work at Bromley House Library in Nottingham, which has been secured as a valuable asset for future generations.

Photo of a painter touching up the ceiling using yellow paint

St Albans Museum and Art Gallery

St Albans Museum and Gallery relocated to the Grade II* listed town hall in 2018, where energy efficiency measures save 6,000kg of CO2e annually.

Photo of Gibson Mill from across a pond

Gibson Mill, West Yorkshire

The National Trust has restored Gibson Mill as a highly sustainable visitor attraction using local labour and recycled materials.

Photo of the outside of Gas Retort House at night

Former Gas Retort House, Birmingham

After years vacant and at risk, the Grade II* Former Gas Retort House in Birmingham has been sensitively refitted for use as a local church.

Photo of the outside of Levens Hall, a 16th century country house

Levens Hall, South Lakeland

Levens Hall benefited from the installation of a vacuum fed biomass heating system, qualifying for the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme.

Photo of a stained glass window

Bailiffgate Museum, Alnwick

Funding for security upgrades at the small, well-loved Bailiffgate museum enabled it to borrow more artefacts and paintings for upcoming exhibitions.

Photo of the outside of the Life Brigade Watch House - a white wooden building with blue and yellow painted windows.

Tynemouth Watch House

The unusual, wooden Tynemouth Watch House has stunning views across the River Tyne. Works here have retained its charm and met modern building needs.

Photo of a Georgian 4 storey terraced house in London (view from the across the street) with a brick wall and large green tree in front

Listed Victorian Townhouse, Clapham

This sensitively retrofitted Victorian townhouse achieved major energy performance improvements (using Passivhaus) that retain its historic character.

Photo of Dalby Square in Cliftonville, Margate - terrace houses dating to 1870s

12A Dalby Square, Margate

Thanet Council converted this five-storey house into a multigenerational home. Although built in 1870, the house has exceptional thermal performance.