Energy saving guides for owners of older houses

New guides setting out how to install energy-saving measures on older homes is now available for homeowners.

The two Planning Advice Notes take people through how to make energy-efficient improvements to older houses in conservation areas and the process for installing external wall insulation on houses in all areas of the city.

They give tips on simple actions to reduce heat loss in older homes that can save money as well as energy. For instance, where you have single glazed windows, it can be cheaper and more effective to put in secondary glazing than to install slim profile double glazing.

Information is also provided on how renewable energy technologies can be installed in older houses whilst minimising visual impact.

Councillor Julie Cattell, lead member for planning strategy, said: “Deciding how to make home energy improvements if you live in a conservation area can seem daunting so these are intended to be practical guides for homeowners. They clarify what is likely to get planning permission and include useful information about what you can do to improve energy efficiency on your property.

“Brighton & Hove has some of the most energy inefficient housing in the country; improving energy efficiency helps address fuel poverty as well as reducing the risk of ill health associated with living in a cold home.”

Up to a third of the heat used to warm homes can be lost through the external walls. Houses built in the early years of the 20th century and before are particularly prone to heat loss and around 40% of private housing in Brighton & Hove was built before 1919. These houses emit on average nine tonnes of C02 a year compared with 4.5 tonnes from a post 1930s house.

Applying external wall insulation can reduce heat loss, effectively wrapping the house in an insulating layer. The guidance describes what permission you may need, information on materials, and how to work with the existing building features. A householder checklist is included to help people through the process of preparing and doing the work, together with a useful contacts list for further information.

Brighton & Hove planners have worked with stakeholders, the housing team and the Low Carbon Trust, which secured a government grant to fund and support the work.

Mischa Hewitt, Director of Low Carbon Trust said: "Improving the efficiency of houses in Brighton & Hove is very important.  There are many old houses in conservation areas with solid walls that need upgrading.  The new guidance will help householders make better decisions and give them the information they need to enhance their homes.  Solid wall insulation can make houses healthier, warmer and cheaper to run."

More information:

The Planning Advice Notes on energy efficiency can be found here:

Low Carbon Trust
The Low Carbon Trust is a not-for-profit organisation whose objective is tackling climate change through highlighting the connection between buildings, how people use them, energy use and carbon emissions.