Climate action

Energy efficiency and historic buildings

The drivers to improve energy efficiency are usually: ☑ Reduce carbon emissions and fuel bills, ☑ Improve comfort levels and ☑ Comply with statutory requirements. This guidance proposes: a “whole house” approach, and provides advice on statutory requirements and guidance on energy efficiency measures. It includes checklists of potential improvements and their respective benefits, comparative costs and technical risks.

Saving energy in your home

Improving the energy efficiency of your home, whether it’s listed, in a conservation area or built before 1919, can be done sympathetically and without compromising its historic character. These pages explain how to go about it, including downloadable practical guidance on draught-proofing, insulation and even ways of generating your own energy.

Guide to Energy Retrofit of Traditional Buildings

This guide describes retrofit measures which can be used to improve the energy efficiency of traditional buildings… The purpose of the guide is to inform and provide guidance to homeowners, local authority building control officers, architects, designers and installers on how to approach the refurbishment of such buildings and balance various requirements.

Responsible Retrofit Knowledge Centre

The Responsible Retrofit Knowledge Centre presents information to assist decision making and increase learning about the responsible retrofit of traditional buildings. It is maintained by the Sustainable Traditional Buildings Alliance, a collaboration of not for profit organisations that aims to promote and deliver a more sustainable traditional built environment.

Reducing Carbon Emissions in Traditional Homes

Buildings, including homes, are the third largest producers of carbon emissions in the UK today. Homes alone account for 13% of all the UK’s carbon emissions. As England has one of the oldest building stocks in Europe, with a fifth of all homes being over a century old, we need to reduce the carbon emissions from our historic homes.

Thermal upgrading of traditional windows

This guidance on traditional windows is aimed at building professionals and property owners. Historic windows are often of considerable importance to the significance of listed buildings. Advice is provided on maintenance, repair and restoration as well as thermal upgrading. The guidance also sets out the general approach when alteration or replacement requires listed building consent.

Building maintenance in a changing climate

Alnwick is less than 70 miles from Edinburgh, and Edinburgh World Heritage are preparing for hotter, drier summers; warmer, wetter winters; and more frequent heavy rain.

  • Rising temperatures may encourage the arrival of new species such as wood-eating insects, which will lead to accelerating rates of decay as a result of biodegradation and insect attack.
  • More sunshine will reduce the longevity of materials which are degraded by ultra violet light such as bituminous felt roof finishes and plastic gutters and windows; accelerate the degradation of painted finishes to timber elements such as sash and case window and doors.
  • More rainfall will result in deeper penetration of water into building fabric. Masonry will remain saturated for longer periods which will increase physical and chemical stresses on stonework, increasing decay and vulnerability to frost damage.
  • Weathering and decay, particularly at higher levels, combined with storm events may lead to structural failure where chimney stacks and other masonry features are in poor condition
  • Periods of intense rainfall mean that existing gutters, downpipes and drains may struggle to cope with the predicted volumes and intensities of rainwater even if they are kept clean and free flowing, leading to greater risks of water penetration and damage to the structure and internal finishes.


Free webinars, hosted by Historic England’s Environmental Strategy team in collaboration with the Climate Heritage Network, provide an in-depth look at topics related to climate change presented by international experts (placeholder).

  • Webinar on replacement windows: <here>

Local applications

Window treatment at Duchess High School Annexe 2 Bailiffgate. <Application Summary>

  • Conservation Officer Report <here>