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Love your old home

Making older homes warmer - and cheaper to heat

If your house was built before 1919, and has non-cavity walls, it's known, in conservation terms, as a ‘traditional dwelling’.

Older homes are often both beautiful and interesting, telling us a great deal about the past and the way people used to live. But they're also often difficult and expensive to keep warm.

It is possible to make your 'traditional' home warmer and cheaper to run, but you need to bear a few things in mind. You need to learn about the way your house is built so that you don't end up causing problems like damp as a result of your renovations. You may need to get planning permission from your local council if your home is a listed building, in a Conservation Area, or otherwise of historical interest. And to make an application to them, you need to arm yourself with some information about what makes your home special and interesting and show that you can protect those features.

Do all this, and you'll be able to make your home cozier and more efficient without changing or damaging the things that give it its historical value.

Help is on hand

Our Love Your Old Home workbook guides you through a 4-step process to planning energy efficiency improvements in traditional homes. It contains a questionnaire about your home which will help you find out what makes it a 'significant' building - when you understand this, you'll be in a good place to choose appropriate improvements and make an application to your local council.

If you already have a good understanding of building performance, you may also be interested in the interactive 'Responsible Retrofit Guidance Wheel', produced by the Sustainable Traditional Buildings Alliance (STBA) - access it here.

CSE has worked with both the National Trust and with English Heritage to develop materials to help people living in traditional dwellings understand their homes and how to make them more energy efficient without impacting on their historic or aesthetic value.

CSE’s Annette Lamley joined the head of environmental practices at the National Trust and a leading historic buildings advisor to give the 350-year-old Welsh half-timbered home of Guardian journalist John Vidal an energy efficiency once-over. Read the article here ...

In 2011 we published, with Bath Preservation Trust, a book entitled Warmer Bath, draft guidance for local authority conservation officers on how heritage buildings could be made warmer and cheaper to heat without damaging the historic fabric.

Click here to go to our page on low carbon retrofitting.

Download the workbook

A 4-step guide to planning energy efficiency improvements for traditional homes

Love Your Home

The introduction to saving energy in traditional homes, produced with National Trust.