Energy efficiency for listed properties


With the rising cost of energy and concern about global warming, the energy efficiency of our buildings is under the spotlight. The UK has famously ‘leaky’ housing stock, with older homes often difficult to properly insulate and heat. These problems can be exacerbated in the case of listed properties, where many techniques that may be used in non-listed properties are out of the question.

Why is energy efficiency so important?
Leaky buildings, whatever their age, cost more money than is necessary to heat. Ensuring that your property is as energy efficient as possible helps to keep a lid on heating costs while ensuring that you keep the building’s carbon footprint as low as possible. Good energy efficiency also goes hand in hand with other aspects of property maintenance.

If you intend to let your property, you will require an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). This allows tenants to have some indication of how much it will cost to keep the property heated, with poorly insulated and less energy efficient properties likely to look less attractive.

Building maintenance for listed properties
Good building maintenance in listed properties underpins their energy efficiency. Keeping a building in good condition is the first step towards reducing its energy costs and carbon footprint. In practical terms, this means minimising dampness and that guttering remain intact and working as they should. Any damp patches on the masonry might indicate that rainwater is not being cleared from the property effectively. Damp walls take longer to heat up and dry out, and they’re less effective at retaining heat.

Listed buildings should also be regularly checked that roof slates, roof insulation, and exterior walls are intact, ensuring there are no gaps in the pointing or masonry that could let in water. The use of more modern materials, such as cement or certain renders can negatively impact the building’s ventilation, trapping in moisture and encouraging stone decay. Using lime mortar may be more suitable. Dealing with draughts and obvious points of heat loss is a simple way to make a listed property more energy efficient.

Secondary glazing for listed properties
Windows, particularly in listed properties, is a major source of heat loss. One means through which this can be addressed in listed properties is by using secondary glazing. Unlike double glazing, this is permitted in listed buildings and doesn’t change the overall aesthetic of the building.

Secondary glazing can be fitted as openable, removable, or fixed units. Openable panels can be sliding sashes or side hung casements. These still allow access to the external window for cleaning and opening the secondary glazing and also the exterior windows for ventilation. Fixed types of secondary glazing can be removed during the summer if the heat retention aspects are not required.

Research has shown that heat loss through conduction and radiation through a window can be reduced by over 60% if you use secondary glazing with a low emissivity hard coating facing the outside. As well as increasing the thermal performance of windows, secondary glazing can have several other benefits, such as reducing noise.

The UK’s most famous pensioners enjoy the benefits of secondary glazing
With their distinctive redcoats and fascinating personal histories, the Chelsea Pensioners are arguably the UK’s most famous retirees. The Royal Chelsea Hospital residents are deserved beneficiaries of a purpose-built safe haven for elderly veterans, which King Charles II initiated in the 17th century. The 300 veterans who live there have all served at least 12 years in the British Armed Forces.

Over recent years, the building has been undergoing extensive renovation and modernisation while being sensitive to its historic fabric and aesthetic legacy. This £13 million restoration brings the West Wing up to 21st century standards allowing residents to have their own bedroom with en-suite shower room facilities and study.

As part of this process, the overall energy efficiency of the building needed to be improved. Storm Windows, specialists in providing bespoke secondary glazing for historic buildings, were commissioned to fit secondary glazing at the hospital. The aim was to make each room warmer and more comfortable for the residents while driving down energy costs. This had to be done in keeping with the overall aesthetic of the building.

Storm Windows was commissioned to take on this important task thanks to their experience working with historic buildings and their commitment to innovation. Their new, improved unit allows for windows to be fully opened, has better ventilation and is spring adapted.

As well as large scale renovations on famous listed buildings, Storm Windows also provide a secondary double-glazing for more modest properties. They also have an interest free payment plan to spread the cost of installing a secondary double-glazing system over 12 months.

To find out more about how secondary double glazing systems can radically improve the energy efficiency of your listed property, call 01384 636365 or email


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