Behaviour,Domestic Energy Consumption,heritage,historic buildings
Dr Thomas Yarrow is a Senior Lecturer at Durham University. In this perspective piece, he shares some findings and implications from his current project, Building on the Past.
In the UK we are obsessed with the past. Old buildings are all around us, valued in different ways, as symbols of history and tradition. They contribute to our sense of identity and place, and have a range of social and economic values. However, preservation of these buildings does not always sit easily alongside the aim of improved energy efficiency. Micro-renewables, double-glazing and improved insulation can all contribute to improved energy performance but can also adversely affect the aesthetic qualities and historic materials that we value. Around 20% of English homes were built before 1919, and older homes tend to be less efficient than those built more recently. Making improvements to historic buildings poses challenges, so it is important to understand what these homes mean to the people who live in them, and work with them.