Make your listed property more energy efficient, with these tips
From cutting your fuel bill and lowering your carbon footprint, to complying with wider building regulations and enhancing your comfort, there are a number of reasons why you may want to make your listed period property more energy efficient. But when your home is also a Listed Building, the issue becomes more complex – with restrictions on the changes you are permitted to make.
Before you undertake any measures, we always recommend that you speak to your local authority planning department or conservation officer first. Check with them if you require Listed Building Consent or Planning Permission, before work commences. On the whole, they will prefer any energy efficiency work doesn’t change the fabric of the building and is inconspicuous.
There are a number of relatively simple ways you can increase your home’s energy efficiency, without altering the building itself, making them ideal solutions for Listed properties.
It may sound obvious, but check you’re not leaving appliances or standby or lights on when you’re not in a room. Can you change to low energy LED lightbulbs, have a slightly shorter shower or look at A-rated appliances when you need to replace older ones?
From leaking gutters to blocked drains, you can help reduce damp issues, which in turn making your home feel colder, by staying on top of jobs like this.
This can be done internally on doors and windows, without making any physical changes to your property. On a superficial level, thicker curtains, rugs and carpets can also help protect you from radiant heat loss from solid floors and floor boards.
Even if you already have this in place, check your insulation is thick enough and doesn’t have any gaps. It’s worth noting that insulation needs to be reversible, so spray-on products are generally unsuitable for Listed properties.
Upgrading your heating system and installing intelligent controls and thermostatic radiator valves in different rooms can help to reduce your fuel bills and make your home a warmer and more pleasant place to be.
Look at renewable energy, like wind and solar, or use gas or wood instead of coal – these can all contribute to your energy-efficiency and sustainability.
Often the cost of completing major energy efficiency work is prohibitive if you’re tackling this in isolation – so it makes sense to consider how you can carry out upgrades in conjunction with bigger renovation jobs.
Insulating your roof at rafter level, or insulating a flat or thatched roof is best done when you’re replacing or repairing it. Generally, as long as you use matching materials, you do not require consent for roofing repairs – and as long as the insulation you install is reversible, you can carry this out at the same time. If your roof is beyond repair and needs replacing, this will require Listed Building Consent – you will be required to replace the roof as close to the original as possible, in terms of its design, construction and materials. Speak to your local authority to check if they have recommendations for the insulation you install, too.
It may be that the plastering or rendering needs repairing or replacing, in order to make your home more energy efficient. It’s critical to use authorised materials and gain consent, but permeable render and plaster will have a beneficial effect on the thermal resistance of your home, keeping it warmer. This is the time to investigate any insulation in your cavity walls, internal walls or exterior walls, too. Speak to a conservation office to find out how if you can improve your wall insulation.
Around a fifth of a home’s heat can be lost via its windows. Listing doesn’t prevent you from repairing or replacing windows, if they are draughty and energy-inefficient. But it does mean that Listed Building Consent may be required – and any replacement windows will need to mirror the original as closely as possible.
When improving the energy efficiency of windows in listed properties, most councils and conservation officers would ask that you renovate your windows where possible, saving as much of the original window as possible. Using a timber window renovation specialist, with expertise in this field, is the preferred route – so any repairs are in keeping with the design and materials of your original window.
Due to the fact that this is reversible, so has no lasting impact on the windows of a property, secondary glazing is widely accepted as a preferred method of enhancing a Listed Building’s energy efficiency. Fully independent of your original window, secondary glazing is available in a range of styles, to suit a wide range of period properties – including lift out units, hinged units, vertical sliders and horizontal sliders.
This is one of the least intrusive ways of improving the energy efficiency of windows and doors – and there are a range of discreet solutions on the market which can be installed at the same time as repairs are taking place, which don’t alter the look of the window, but will keep your home warmer.
It’s recommended that you use a timber window expert for these kind of projects on your Listed building. Ventrolla have helped many Listed property owners through the planning application process, providing a window‐by‐window survey, sharing recommendations and any technical drawings or specifications needed to help the councils understand the work that will be undertaken. Get in touch with our team today to discuss your project – call 0800 0277 454 or submit our online form.