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.

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>