How to Make a Period Property More Energy Efficient

by Tom Z. on August 22, 2017

Period properties are beautiful, but they can also be problematic. Modern building methods are very different and we don’t have to contend with issues such as lead paint or asbestos when buying a modern home. A ZOTApro certification will teach you all you need to know about lead paint if you have an older home to renovate, but what you should also be worrying about is improving its energy efficiency.


Historic buildings are rarely eco-friendly when compared to modern homes. You may not even notice how much energy you are wasting. When the wind is howling under the front door and the bedroom windows are rattling in their frames, you put on some extra layers, add a few more blankets on to the bed, and wait for summer to come.

Thankfully, there are plenty of simple things you can do to improve the energy efficiency of an older property, without destroying its character. Energy efficiency is a serious topic and everything we do to improve the energy efficiency of a period home helps the environment. Read on for a few ideas.

Keep Up with the Maintenance
Make sure you keep up with general maintenance on your home. Replace cracked panes of glass and clean out gutters so water isn’t channeled down walls causing damp issues. Check the roof regularly and replace tiles or shingles when they drift out of place or fall off.

Insulate the Roof
Insulating a roof is far cheaper than insulating the walls. In fact, wall insulation or cladding is not recommended for an old house, as older properties have solid, breathable walls, so insulating them can cause serious damp problems.

Check your roof insulation and add extra if required. Make sure any attic hatches are well insulated, as these are a major source of heat loss.

Only Heat the Rooms You Use
It is common to heat an entire house, even if we spend most of our time in one or two rooms. This is madness. Instead of wasting heat and energy, only heat the rooms you need. Switch off or turn down the heat in unused rooms and keep the doors closed. It is more energy efficient.

Draft Proofing
The heat soon disappears through gaps around doors and windows and the wind will find a way in. Fit draft excluders and use flexible filler to block up gaps around poorly fitting windows. It costs very little to buy materials from Home Depot, so spend a weekend fixing these minor problems and you will save some money on your energy bill. Even heavy drapes over a single-pane window will help keep the heat in.

LED Lighting
Swap incandescent bulbs for energy efficient LED bulbs. They burn for longer and cost a fraction of the money to run.

Fit Solar Photovoltaic Panels
If there are no planning restrictions in your area and you face south, fit solar photovoltaic panels to your roof and start generating electricity from the sun.

Tackle the cheap fixes first and if you have some cash to spare, start looking at more expensive energy saving measure such as ground source heat boilers and solar panels.

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