Heritage groups warn government over flawed approach to retrofitting older homes

08 November 2017

Several leading heritage organisations have formed an alliance to raise concerns with the Government over the way ‘flawed’ energy efficiency policy treats traditional buildings.

The CLA – the membership organisation representing rural landlords – has joined together with others including the Church of England and the National Trust to write to the Government to explain that the one-size-fits-all approach to energy efficiency fails to recognise the unique nature of heritage properties.

According to the group, older homes built from traditional materials are being failed by the policy which gives homeowners inaccurate information on the energy efficiency of their properties and signposts them to potentially damaging retrofits. In the letter the organisations jointly ask to meet with Ministers to discuss the right solutions for safeguarding older buildings for future generations and to avoid further mistakes.

The conservation coalition writes that current policy to address the energy efficiency of the nation’s building stock is “overly simplistic” and “designed from the perspective of modern construction and materials, ignoring fundamental building physics, such as how traditional materials and structures ‘breathe’, resulting in inappropriate and potentially damaging measures.”

CLA President Ross Murray said: “We want to encourage better investment in rural housing to achieve warmer, more efficient homes, but this is undermined when property owners do not have faith in the information found in energy performance certificates.

“These older buildings are an important part of our national heritage and are highly sought after for their character. It would be a tragedy for the Government to put them at risk with an overly simplistic approach to energy efficiency.

“We share the Government’s concern on climate change and agree that energy efficiency is central to tackling it but there are substantial flaws in the policy which left unaddressed have the potential to damage homes, cause disruption in the property market and fail to achieve the Government’s energy efficiency objectives.”  

Click here to read the letter in full.