Historic doorSuperHomes 2014 focuses on historic buildings

We’ve just been reading about the 2014 SuperHomes Open Days and were particularly thrilled to note the focus on historic properties this year.

Plenty of savvy householders retrofit energy efficiency measures on their properties, but there is an almost unspoken feeling that that kind of modification will wreck the integrity of an historic building. Can you imagine solar panels on the roof of a Tudor cottage or a wind turbine spinning away atop the Georgian rectory? In many ways why not? These buildings have – in some cases quite miraculously – survived into an age where such features are commonplace and that alone is part of their story and lifecycle, but planning law and considerations of visual appeal mean that energy efficiency can be considered inappropriate to old buildings and undertaken by stealth, where it’s undertaken at all. This is the ultimate irony as the majority of UK housing stock dates from a time when technologies were different, energy sources no cause for concern and cold and draughts a fact of life, so if any houses need work, it’s these ones.

Retrofit in historic buildings

It’s clear though from this SuperHomes article that retrofit energy efficiency work on historic buildings can be tremendously effective while doing nothing to detract from the building’s appeal and charm. The article lists numerous methods of saving and creating energy put in place in properties as special as a 1909 Arts & Crafts house but also as commonplace as a 1920s terraced house. The statistics for the levels of comfort in these houses are impressive as is the hard work and dedication of the homeowners involved. Although energy bill savings are in many cases achieved, this isn’t necessarily the top consideration.

Visit a SuperHome near you

This month there are 60 SuperHomes open to the public. To find one search the map on this page and see for yourself just what’s possible with an older house. Enjoy the character and architectural features of an older home without draughts whistling round your ankles or a five minute wait for hot water, and learn from the householders how to make historic properties sustainable to heat and to power. We have a couple of Ecoflaps to give away in return for a photo of a SuperHome with an Ecoflap in place!