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Victorian & Edwardian Properties...

We have occasionally published articles under the heading 'Looking after our estate'. These contain information that we feel is particularly relevant to the mainly Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian houses that characterise our area.
So far we have covered windows, stone garden walls, ironwork and trees.

Reducing the Carbon Footprint...

How can Victorian & Edwardian properties be adapted to minimise their carbon footprint?
Roger Mortimer offers some advice and suggestions

It may seem that the small contribution that a house can make is pointless.
 However, houses contribute 24% of UK carbon emissions, and as existing homes will continue to account for about 90% of the total housing stock in the UK reducing the carbon footprint of these is very important.

More significant than making the small number of new dwellings carbon neutral. Some 'green' improvements will also reduce running costs, achieving the same or better comfort while using less energy. Low running costs are becoming a factor in house valuations, underlined by HIP Energy Certificates. . So there are financial as well as green virtues in the suggestions made. In some cases Government grants are available. (See Low Carbon Buildings Programme.)

Lifestyles have a major influence on our carbon footprint but this article focuses on the bricks and mortar. Not the 'typical' two storey suburban semi upon which most green advice seems to be based but that more typical of our area. Solid, stone built, usually 3 storey, detached, semi or terrace houses. Some suggestions do not apply to flats, or may not be possible due to leases and legal arrangements.

Major building alteration and repair operations, for example re-roofing and extending, provide an excellent opportunity to incorporate energy saving and energy generating measures that go beyond those mentioned here. However ,all building activities, however well intentioned, consume energy, so it is important to use 'sustainable' materials, with low embodied energy and from renewable sources. (See National Green Specification)

There is much general advice available to those seeking to make their homes more sustainable but professional help may be required. (See The Green Register for some specialists and Greenstreet for some examples of eco-refurbishment).

Steps to a lower carbon footprint

  1. Reducing Energy Demand - by good insulation, draught and weather-stripping.
  2. Reducing Energy Consumption - by efficient heating equipment and controls, and other services.
  3. Generating Energy - using solar power for water heating and micro-generation of electricity.
  4. Sources of Advice and Information