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.