Saving Energy in an Old Home

Saving Energy in an Old Home

Got an old home and scratching your head about how to keep it in top shape while making it more energy-efficient and saving on energy bills? Is saving energy in an old home possible? We're all looking to be a bit more eco-friendly these days – from big global efforts right down to tweaking our own home’s energy use.

There's something special about the character and history of an older property, but these structures often come with the challenge of being less energy-efficient. Traditional homes perform differently from modern homes; therefore, they require different techniques and strategies.

This blog will go over some practical, respectful approaches for enhancing the energy efficiency of your older property. From practical maintenance and draught-proofing to effective external wall insulation (EWI) options, we've got you covered.

Challenges with Older Properties

While older homes are absolute treasures of our heritage, these old structures, especially those built before the 1920s, come with their own set of challenges. Often built with solid, single-layer walls, they lack the insulation found in modern homes, leading to significant heat loss. Combined with single-glazed windows, it's no wonder keeping warm can be a struggle. Over years, it's natural for these homes to show signs of wear, such as gaps and cracks, making draughts a common issue as warm air escapes.

Unlike modern builds, older homes absorb and release moisture differently, and their thick walls mean they warm up and cool down slowly. This can lead to several issues down the line, such as problems with mould, damp, overheating, harm to the structure of the property, or the health of those living there due to poor air quality.

When thinking about making your old home more energy-efficient, it's crucial to look at the whole picture. Traditional energy-saving tactics might not always be suitable, and a more considered, holistic approach is needed to ensure your updates do more good than harm.

Do I Need Planning Permission to Make any Improvements in my Old House?

If you're planning repairs on an older property, it's important to check if you need planning permission, particularly if your home is listed or located within a conservation area. For listed buildings, obtaining listed building consent is crucial. Likewise, properties in designated areas such as National Parks or Conservation Areas will require planning permission, which can be sought through your local planning authority's planning portal.

Saving Energy in an Old Home

Upgrading your old home to boost energy efficiency doesn't mean sacrificing its charm. By making these changes, not only can you save on energy, but you'll likely see your utility bills drop as well.

Consider a Home Energy Audit 

Enhancing your home's comfort and energy efficiency can be complex, as every house has its unique traits. For tailored advice on energy-saving upgrades, consider a home energy assessment by a certified assessor with expertise in traditional buildings.

What Maintenance Steps Should I Consider When Looking After an Old Home?  

Homeowners might not always realise how crucial regular maintenance is for a comfortable, energy-efficient home. Keeping your property in top condition is vital. Issues like damp and mould, often resulting from blocked gutters, vents, or cracked render, can be reduced with routine inspections and straightforward, cost-effective repairs.

Address Draughty Doors and Windows

Ventilation is crucial in older buildings to prevent dampness but can lead to uncomfortable draughts. Therefore, finding the right balance is essential. Cost effective measures like wiper seals for door bases and compression seals for external doors can effectively reduce draughts. 

Additionally, secondary glazing offers a way to improve window efficiency while preserving their historic character. It's discreet, reversible, and can significantly enhance warmth and soundproofing without altering original features.

It is vital to remember that original windows and doors contribute to your home's unique aesthetics and draught-proofing them is an inexpensive yet effective step towards better energy efficiency.

Does Installing External Wall Insulation Save Energy in Older Houses?

External Wall Insulation properly installed can significantly enhance the energy efficiency of an older home. By adding an insulating layer to the exterior walls, EWI prevents heat from escaping and blocks cold air from entering. The key benefits include:

  • Enhanced energy efficiency.
  • Reduced drafts for consistent temperatures.
  • Improved heat retention and comfort.
  • Lower heating costs.
  • Smaller carbon footprint.
  • Possible boost in property value.

Using the Right Materials to Insulate Your Old Building 

When making improvements to an older building, recognising the importance of the breathability of the construction and maintenance materials is crucial. Breathable (moisture vapour permeable) insulation is essential for keeping heat within your walls while also permitting moisture to escape, preventing it from becoming trapped.

What Insulation Material is Breathable?

Mineral wool is considered a breathable insulation material due to its distinctive fibrous structure. This structure consists of interconnected open pores, allowing both air and moisture vapour to pass through. Unlike closed-cell insulations, mineral wool does not trap moisture, thus minimising the risk of condensation within building structures. Its capability to permit moisture passage without compromising thermal efficiency establishes mineral wool as a preferred option in scenarios where moisture management and air quality are vital.

What Render Material is Breathable?

Lime render is notably beneficial for old buildings due to its outstanding breathability and moisture control, making it perfect for properties with solid walls and traditional materials like stone or brick. Its flexibility accommodates the natural movement of the building, minimising structural damage.

Lime render matures elegantly, adding to the character of old buildings with a natural patina that harmonises with existing materials and architectural features. Its maintenance benefits include easy repair and replacement, enhancing your property's longevity.

Furthermore, lime render serves as an efficient, breathable waterproof barrier, safeguarding the building from external elements while maintaining a comfortable indoor environment.

What to Consider When Making Improvements to Your Old Home

When upgrading your old or heritage home, considering its age, construction, breathability, and aesthetics is crucial. Expertise and experience are essential for any external improvements to ensure your project enhances energy efficiency while maintaining the building's unique charm and integrity.

There are plenty of energy-saving options available; finding the right fit can greatly vary in cost and impact. But it's definitely possible to upgrade your home's energy efficiency without compromising its historical charm. Every potential improvement comes with its own set of pros and cons. It's all about striking the right balance to ensure your home remains a testament to the past while stepping confidently into a more sustainable future.

Ready for a home upgrade? Reach out for a free quote today and start your journey towards a comfortable and more energy-efficient home. Our expert team can advise on the best solution for your project. PD Rendering, with over 15 years of expertise in external wall insulation and rendering, operates across the Midlands and extends services to Greater London.

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