From: Sarah Hitchings Sales & Marketing Director, The Residence Collection

At the beginning of 2024, the Government announced an energy efficiency drive for heritage homes in the UK.

This drive is set to review the wide range of barriers homeowners face when looking to future proof their homes, whilst protecting their heritage. The review will also explore how these barriers are placing restrictions on the UK achieving Net Zero status by 2050.

With approximately 5.9 million properties built before 1919 in the UK1, owners of these heritage buildings face difficult restrictions when looking to upgrade them structurally. With the appropriate energy saving measures, owners of buildings built before 1919 could save approximately £428 per year on their energy costs2, showing the necessity of the Government’s review.

Trying to change anything in a historic property or conservation area is a long drawn-out process, which can be immensely timely and costly.

One of the biggest barriers for all homeowners of these properties is that every local authority’s planning department is different. With this, homeowners and planning authorities may not be aware of the innovative products available that can compassionately upgrade period properties while maintaining their original, historical beauty. This makes it increasingly difficult for homeowners to be granted planning permission to upgrade their properties. 

Reviewing these barriers will mostly be positive for the fenestration industry, as UPVC windows offer a great thermal performance and u-values for any type of home, so owners of older homes will really reap the benefits. 

Plus, this will allow installers within the industry to add another sector to their business. However, not all installers are educated and experienced in fitting windows in heritage properties, so the review must be mindful that there could be a skills gap not just in the fenestration industry but across the board when upgrading period homes. 

As an industry, we must continue to encourage high-quality installations happening in these types of properties so as a sector we can support in preserving these homes while being a part of the solution to improve energy efficiency.

The Residence Collection has earned widespread acceptance with local authorities in conservation areas and Grade-II listed buildings across the UK, by being designed with Article 4 guidelines in mind. This acceptance allows for an easier planning and installation process, removing some of the significant hurdles to maintaining the historical character of these properties.

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