Retrofitting Old Buildings & Things to Consider
There are approximately 26 million homes in the UK many of which are extremely poorly insulated. Approximately one fifth of those were built before the first world war.
In the future, energy efficient properties are likely to be more highly valued and desired whereas less efficient properties are likely to become more difficult to rent or sell. Indeed there is already a minimum standard that privately rented properties must achieve an energy performance certificate (EPC) rating no worse than an E which is set to be tightened further from 2025 to a minimum level C.
With global energy costs soaring and carbon reduction goals here to stay many home owners will naturally be thinking of ways to improve energy efficiency and switch to low carbon technologies.
Whilst low carbon technology is to be encouraged there are many initial much lower cost options and the overall payback time it would take to recoup the capital investment needs to be considered. It is first important to take steps to reduce air leakage, better insulate and eradicate dampness which can reduce thermal efficiency by up to 40%.
Many modern techniques are likely to be detrimental to the way in which an older building functions with 'breathability' being one of the key considerations. Spray foam roof insulation is one such technique that should be avoided! Unfortunately I have encountered numerous examples of this and I would advise all of my client's to take a step back before embarking on potentially damaging and expensive work.
A whole house approach is required with careful consideration of the positive and negative effects of any alterations. The Sustainable Traditional Buildings Alliance (STBA) has produced a guidance wheel providing a useful starting point for responsible energy retrofitting. It is vital that those involved in such a project have an understanding of traditional construction with its permeable fabric, appropriate building materials, dew points, condensation and MOISTURE generally which is the achilles heel of any building.
This is a subject of keen interest and New Forest Surveying would be delighted to assist you with energy retrofitting of your listed or traditional building. Please do get in touch by email or phone.