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National Park Authority offers energy advice for traditional homes

This is an archived press release

Tuesday 7 September 2010

07 September 2010

National Park Authority offers energy advice for traditional homes

Did you know that traditionally-built houses can lose up to 60 per cent of their heat through the walls and roof?

The Peak District National Park is full of beautiful old houses and cottages, but they can be chilly. Insulation is the best way to keep them warm and reduce energy bills, but old buildings need special care to avoid damage.

The Peak District National Park Authority has produced a new leaflet, “Sustainability and Historic Buildings,” to advise householders how to improve energy efficiency without harming a building’s special character or fabric.

The leaflet includes advice for walls, roofs, floors, chimneys and windows, as well as  environmentally-friendly materials and sources of further help.

The national park’s Historic Buildings Architect John Sewell said: “Draught-proofing and insulation are the most important steps you can take. As long as you use the right materials, they have the least impact on an old building.

“Modern impervious materials can trap moisture inside the fabric, increasing risk of damp and decay. Historic buildings need to “breathe,” letting moisture in and out. We recommend using natural insulation such as sheep’s wool or hemp fibre, and insulated lime plaster for internal walls. They are permeable, have good thermal properties and prevent condensation.

“Existing historic windows should always be repaired and draught-proofed wherever possible. Modern windows can destroy the character of an historic building and are not always cost-effective. Blinds or heavy curtains can almost halve the heat loss and, combined with shutters or secondary windows, they can provide better and cheaper insulation than double-glazing.

“As a National Park Authority we are positive about small-scale renewable energy schemes, but they are not as cost-effective as energy saving and may need planning permission. They should only be considered when other means have been investigated. Those with least visual impact include ground source heat pumps, air source heat pumps and water turbines.”

National parks have been asked by the Government to take a lead in helping to reach its target of reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 34 per cent by 2020. The “Sustainability and Historic Buildings” leaflet is one way of helping residents and businesses to do that.

The leaflet can be picked up from the Peak District National Park Authority offices at Aldern House, Baslow Road, Bakewell (tel: 01629 816200) or accessed on-line at www.peakdistrict.gov.uk/sustainabilityandhistoricbuildings.pdf

This is an archived press release

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