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Education, Training & Outreach

Quality Street:

Making older homes more sustainable

On Saturday 14 November 2010, Heritage Works held a one-day event at Wigan Enterprise Centre, exploring how best to improve the environmental performance older homes, particularly the traditional Victorian terraces and inter-war estate houses. It sought to answer the questions:

"How can I make my house more energy efficient and thus cheaper to run?"

"How can I refurbish this property and meet the owner's needs to save on heating bills without losing its historic character?"

Industry expert Bob Barnham from Changeworks in Edinburgh made two presentations, using case studies from the Edinburgh World Heritage Site to show how traditional buildings can be improved, with simple measures such as energy-effficient light bulbs and thick curtains, through to the introduction of renewable energy measures.

Other speakers explored the issues of:

  • How historic & traditional materials perform in Building Research Establish tests
  • The Building Regulations and historic buildings
  • Upgrading historic windows

Exhibitors included the Energy Saving Trust, Ventrolla (new and repaired sash windows); Histoglass (specialist glass for old windows) and and the GB Energy Group (materials and gadgets to improve environmental performance).

Those who attended thoroughly enjoyed the event and gave excellent feedback. Householders particularly appreciated being able to talk one-to-one with the professionals, and being able to see and feel the products, such as sash window units and samples of sheep's wool thermal and acoustic insulation.

Funded by Wigan Pier Quarter Townscape Heritage Initiative, this event is one of three skills training days taking place in Wigan this autumn and winter. The two other days will be run by the Society for Protection of Ancient Buildings and by Heritage Trust for the North West.

Heritage Works has a particular interest in 'making heritage work environmentally' and believes that there is a need to make our historic buildings more 'sustainable', if they are to remain viable in the long term. Homeowners and office occupiers alike will in future look increasingly at the cost of heating properties when deciding to purchase or rent and historic buildings will not be attractive options if they have low environmental performance certificate (EPC) ratings.

Ventrolla sash window sample
Quality Street: making older homes more sustainable
Quality Street: making older homes more sustainable
Quality Street: making older homes more sustainable

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