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Planning a period property renovation?

If you are restoring a Victorian house, or indeed refurbishing any older property, then you probably began the process by checking the condition of the existing building. You may have had a surveyor look at the state of the roof and the windows, as well as checking the safety of the wiring. Perhaps you’ve also tested for asbestos as well as damp and dry rot. But have you assessed your home energy performance and looked at how to improve your home energy efficiency?

Check Your Home Energy Performance

Older houses are beautiful – but they also tend to be cold, draughty and expensive to heat. This is mainly due to their structure and the materials they’re made up of – what’s called the ‘fabric’ of the building. However it can also be as a result of the infrastucture too – such as the effectiveness of the types of systems that are used to heat them.

Aim to Cut Your Home Carbon Emissions

Living in an uncomfortable house isn’t just a problem for you. It’s also a major headache for the government and the planet too. Domestic housing accounts for about a fifth of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions, with most of those coming from heating and hot water. If you care about the environment and want to play your part in meeting our Climate Change Targets then retrofitting your home is simply the right thing to do. Carrying out energy efficient home improvements will make a real difference to your carbon emissions – while making your home much more comfortable and cheaper to run.

Don’t Just Renovate – Eco Renovate!

Your period property renovation should therefore be really seen as an eco renovation rather than just a restoration project. Afterall if you’re carrying out building works this is the best time to tackle your home energy efficiency issues. Don’t worry – you can do your bit to reduce your home carbon footprint while still retaining your home’s lovely period features!

So, how do you renovate a historic house to make it as warm and cosy as a new build home, whilst retaining its period details? Simple – you think like a person from the past would have done. Reduce, re-use, re-cycle – modern words commonly used in the modern age but actually the message and building methods are centuries old.

Old Methods with New Technologies

Speaking a couple of years ago at the Royal Geographical Society, TV celebrity, architect and staunch supporter of Britain’s heritage listed buildings, Kevin McCloud, was challenged by a member of the audience on this exact point. Many of the UK’s listed buildings are draughty and leak heat, therefore adding to the huge amount of carbon polluting the atmosphere generated from our homes. How, the audience member asked, are owners of listed and conserved properties to maintain their wonderful historic homes and at the same time care for the planet? Kevin’s answer is demonstrated by a number of the listed building eco-renovation projects that CLPM have worked on over the years. The way to approach it is to think about how the building was used in its past, and how is to be used in the future. You need to look at the best of modern building innovation and blend the two.

Case Study – Period Renovation in Oxfordshire

eco renovation project management | exterior during building worksA period property renovation project which illustrates how this can be done beautifully is a grade II listed house eco-renovation CLPM project managed almost 10 years ago. In common with many houses of its type, this family home was very attractive and spacious but it was uncomfortable to live in. The building was poorly insulated and was heated via a series of small, ancient radiators run from an oil boiler. Not only was the property cold it was also very expensive to run.

The owners were keen to update the interior of the house with a loft conversion, a new kitchen, new bathrooms and a full refurbishment but quickly realised that there were also significant improvements required to make their home more comfortable, energy efficient and more affordable to run.

The first step in the process was to carry out a full review of the existing structure and its energy performance – a home energy audit. Our Sustainability team carried this out and then worked with the clients’ architects to specify the materials and construction methodology required to sympathetically refurbish the house whilst significantly improving its energy performance too. The solution was a harmonious blend of old, natural elements with modern technology.

eco renovation project management | new, insulated roofThe roof was repaired and completely re-tiled with handmade clay tiles. New insulating materials were put in between the rafters of the roof to help maximise the energy efficiency of the building – made up on 2 layers of sheep’s wool and wood chip. Traditional methods were used to renovate the original elm floorboards, wattle and daub panels and wooden window shutters. Lime plastering and breathable paints were used to repair and redecorate the walls and woodwork. The old oil boiler was replaced with a new biomass boiler which was installed to run a more efficient updated heating system. The old well in the garden was also re-commissioned to again provide water to the property – just as it had done originally when the house was built. Lastly, a green sedum roof was added to a new car porch.

The result is on the ‘outside’ an aesthetically pleasing, careful period property restoration which was in line with the limitations of the buildings listed status but with a clever, invisible technical specification ‘inside’. 100% proof that you really don’t have to choose between home energy efficiency and period features.

Get Expert, Independent Advice

Here at CLPM we are independent experts on sustainability and give impartial advice on home heating systems. We can visit your property, and talk with you to understand any issues you may be experiencing. We can then carry out a full review of your home energy performance and give you all the advice you need to help you and your architectural design or build team make the most appropriate energy efficiency improvements. If you’d like expert input we can help – for example on decisions regarding levels of insulation, what windows to install, the most suitable heating system (and control system) and the suitability of any renewable technologies.

Get in touch

To find out more about how CLPM can help you with your period proerty renovation. Call 01923 896550, email info@cl-pm.com or complete a contact form.

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CLPM Project Managers cover London, Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Oxfordshire, Surrey, and West Sussex. Energy Consultancy and Cost Advice services available across the UK.
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