Energy Saving Tips for Older Homes
Older Buildings can be difficult and expensive to heat, and improving their energy efficiency can seem a bit daunting – but in fact there are plenty of very simple steps you can take.
It is important when considering any work on an older house to understand how it was designed to work. For example, many older homes were designed with passive ventilation which ensured ventilation around the building to help keep it from excessive moisture and subsequent decay. It is vital that when implementing energy efficiency measures on older homes that these dynamics aren’t compromised.
Older pre-1919 homes are typically either listed buildings or are located within a conservation area. According to Fife Council there are 6,200 listed buildings in fife which is nearly 10% of Scotland’s total. These homes are listed under the following categories:
Category A – Buildings of national or international importance, either architectural or historic, or fine little-altered examples of some particular period, style or building type;
Category B – Buildings of regional or more than local importance, or major examples of some particular period, style or building type which may have been altered;
Category C – Buildings of local importance, lesser examples of any period style or building type, as originally constructed or moderately altered; and simple traditional buildings which group well with other listed buildings.
Energy saving measures for an older Home
Secondary Glazing: Secondary glazing is well established as an effective measure of improving insulation in existing buildings. Recent research has shown heat losses through a window as a whole can be reduced by over 60% by using secondary glazing with a low emissivity (low-E) hard coating facing the outside.
Repair Windows: All types of windows will decay over time, so regular inspection and maintenance will always be a good investment. Before installing any draught-proofing to windows or doors, it makes sense to identify and make any repairs that are needed first. Straight-forward repairs can reduce air infiltration and heat loss by up to a third.
Draught Proofing: Draught proofing doors and windows is an effective and relatively cheap way to reduce heat loss in an older home. Recent research has shown draught-proofing can reduce air leakage in windows by between 33% and 50% significantly reducing the energy requirement needed for heating the room.
Open Fires and chimneys: Older houses may have individual fireplaces in each room and can be a source of significant draughts when not in use. A good remedy for this is to fit a damper, which can be installed either in the throat of the chimney, the flue, or at the top of the chimney. A flue balloon is the quickest way to close the base of a flue that is not being used. These thick plastic balloons are available in various sizes and are normally inflated by a foot pump. Take care not to block the base of the flue completely.
Insulation: Typically, about 25% heat is lost through the roof, in comparison to 35% through the walls, But the cost of insulating the roof is usually much lower than the cost of solid wall insulation, so it is often more cost-effective to do the roof first.
Along with these measures which are particularly suited to older buildings there are a range of other measures you can do such as energy efficient lighting, upgrading your heating system, energy efficient appliances etc. You can find out more about these on the Energy Saving Trusts Website.
For further reading on energy efficiency in older homes you can go to Historic Scotland’s website for information. Or come along to our free Energy Saving for Older Properties event on Thursday 10th September, 7-9pm with Home Energy Scotland to get more tips and ask questions specific to your home.
Greener Kirkcaldy can help
Our Cosy Kingdom service offers free and impartial home energy advice. One of our energy advisors can come to your home and give you one to one help and advice.
For more information or to arrange a free home visit get in touch by calling 01592 858458, emailing email@example.com or pop into our High Street Hub, 254a High Street, for a chat Wednesday to Saturday, 10am-4pm.