How to Make Old Homes More Energy Efficient

There are lots of green initiatives and free energy saving advice for people living in modern homes – however it’s not as simple for historic stately homes or listed buildings. These older style houses are usually very inefficient and cold during the winter, which means owners can rack up huge bills and have no way of insulating the building.

Britain has 400,000 listed buildings and 5 million historic houses built before 1919, which are often exempt from many energy saving practices. It is forbidden to install double glazing windows in many older properties – they are incredibly expensive to maintain and to heat, so is there anything at all people can do to make them more efficient?

There are ways but they differ greatly from what is recommended in homes built recently. Older properties were built in an entirely different way, which means modern energy saving features such as installation could actually do more harm than good to old homes. Older buildings were designed to breathe and be heated one room at a time, by fires. Some still have this feature where others have had radiators and modern boilers installed – either way it takes a lot of energy to heat the buildings to a comfortable temperature.

So if double glazing and insulation won’t work for these buildings, what will?

Mainly, it’s just a case of draught proofing and maintaining a property to ensure as much heat stays in as possible. Energy efficiency tips such as:

  • Get heavy curtains and ensure panes of glass are well maintained
  • Fit draught excluders to letterboxes and doors, use draught proofing strips around windows
  • Think about insulating the roof, as around one quarter of heat can be lost through the roof. This depends on each individual building if it is appropriate or not
  • Consider floor coverings, lots of rugs can keep feet warm and block air infiltration
  • Replace all bulbs with LED bulbs
  • Consider replacing windows with timber energy saving windows, perfect for period homes

Essentially it is all of the inexpensive, simple measures which can make the most difference in a historic home. People can also follow these tips if they live in a modern home, although they probably won’t notice the same increase in heat efficiency.

Do you have any other top energy saving tips for homeowners with older houses? Let us know.