The national and global imperative to improve energy security and reduce carbon emissions is turning the spotlight onto the existing building stock.
Traditional and historic buildings can often adopt modern technologies, such as more efficient boilers, lamps, control and management techniques, and low-carbon energy supplies. Changing the building fabric is more difficult, particularly for walls, windows and doors, which give the building so much of its character. This is not just an aesthetic concern: changing balances between heat, air and moisture movement may also affect the integrity of the building and the health of its occupants.
There is often a presumption that old is bad and new is good. This is not necessarily so: historic and traditional buildings have stood the test of time, demonstrating their sustainability in an ever-changing world. With hindsight, many well-meaning interventions in the 20th century have turned out to have been mistaken. For example, harder and less permeable paints, coatings, mortars, and renders often accelerated the deterioration of the fabric they were expected to protect, while new windows and pointing have taken the character out of many well-loved buildings and streetscapes.
To better understand the performance of traditional and historic buildings and elements, and the need and scope for upgrading, English Heritage has been commissioning a series of research projects, on which it reports as soon as results come available. Each report includes a technical summary of the research, and an executive summary that puts the work into a broader context.


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Research into the Thermal Performance of Traditional Brick Walls

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  • 14 January 2015 Creation Date
  • 25 September 2019 Last Updated