If we are to meet the targets set out in COP26 of becoming carbon neutral by 2030 we need to significantly improve the energy efficiency of our existing housing stock in order to meet our target Carbon Budget. This is particularly difficult to achieve in the case of Listed buildings where both the interior and exterior of the building is protected.
Whilst we recognise that it is important to protect the original ‘fine’ interiors of Grade I and Grade 2* properties, in the light of COP26 which stated ‘we must quickly turn our new and existing buildings into climate emergency first-responders’, might it be time to consider removing restrictions to internal alterations of those Grade II Listed properties (where the interiors are not part of the reason for their Listing) to allow them to be refurbished to be more energy efficient? For example, to allow the internal surface of the exterior walls to be insulated (perhaps requiring copying or reusing the original cornices, skirtings and other mouldings and applying them to the newly insulated walls) and to have double glazed windows fitted? These properties will never be able to substantially improve their energy efficiency without some serious reconsideration on the part of the Government and Local Authorities.
BA, MSc, dip arch, RIBA
7th December 2021