Balancing conservation with energy efficiency ‘vital in historic buildings’

The Better Buildings Partnership says their design, materials and construction means they often have poorer EPC ratings

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Balancing conservation with necessary improvements when upgrading historic buildings to comply with Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) is vitally important.

That’s according to the Better Buildings Partnership (BBP), which says older heritage properties are one of the property types most affected by efficiency rules as their design, materials and construction means they often have poorer Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) ratings.

MEES are intended to ensure all rented properties in England and Wales are brought up to a minimum of an E-rating.

BBP has offered a number of suggestions for owners of heritage properties to comply with MEES, the first of which is encouraging them to collate as much information as possible regarding the fabric, roof and systems so assessors can deliver an accurate and high-quality EPC.

It says owners should select an energy assessor familiar with heritage properties and check the final EPC carefully to check any historic renovations have been included and the proper rules have been applied.

The report adds almost all heritage properties can benefit from energy efficiency improvement measures that do not harm the property’s historical and architectural value, with low-cost, non-intrusive retrofitting being the best method of avoiding damage.

Nigel Griffiths, Director of the Sustainable Traditional Buildings Alliance, said: “Traditional buildings represent a significant portion of the UK’s building stock.

“The energy efficiency of these properties is therefore critical but it is essential that compliance with the MEES regulations respects their architectural and cultural value.”