New energy efficiency guidance to support upgrading of older traditional buildings

Guidance will lead to warmer, more energy efficient homes in pre-1940s housing stock in the Republic of Ireland, helping to address vacancy and revitalisation of towns and cities.
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Technical guidance will assist installers undertaking retrofitting works in historic buildings, particularly solid block houses.

Malcolm Noonan TD, Irish Minister of State for Nature, Heritage and Electoral Reform has launched new guidance to support energy upgrades in traditional buildings. Primarily aimed at the specifiers and installers of retrofitting projects, the guidance will also be of interest to owners, occupiers and other custodians of historic buildings – both residential and non-residential – who want to increase the comfort in these buildings while reducing their energy usage, energy bills and greenhouse gas emissions. The guidance will greatly assist in the regeneration of historic buildings in our towns, cities and countryside, enabling disused or underused buildings to be brought back into use.

He said: “We’re seeing lots of demand for renovations including energy upgrades to bring older building stock back into use. This guidance means that more of these types of buildings can now be brought up to better energy efficiency standards and in turn, make them more comfortable places to live.

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“As these types of buildings are often located in our towns and cities, this guidance can also help to support our efforts to revitalise town centres and address vacancy.

“By sensitively upgrading our historic buildings, we not only protect their architectural heritage value, but improve the comfort and quality of life for occupants and enable vacant properties to be brought back into use. In addition, we can reduce the energy use of these buildings which is an important step in meeting our climate targets.”

The guidance will assist specifiers and installers by providing practical advice on how to make the right decisions when undertaking retrofitting works to traditional buildings.

It explains how these buildings work, how to assess their performance and how to plan for climate change.

Advice is given on options for upgrading the different elements of the building fabric, and what to take into consideration when upgrading existing services or choosing a new energy system, including renewable energy, for a traditional building.

In Ireland, traditional buildings are built with solid, load-bearing masonry walls, single-glazed windows and timber-framed roofs.

This type of construction was used in the majority of buildings built in this country before c 1940 and forms a significant component of our built environment.

Traditional buildings form the core of our cities and towns, and populate the countryside. They can be landmark buildings of high heritage significance, simple single-family dwellings and any building type in between.

Their continued existence as the backdrop to our everyday lives plays a key role in our cultural heritage, our identity and sense of place.

Special care is required when undertaking building or energy upgrade work to building stock of this nature.

The guidance will assist the custodians of traditional buildings in increasing energy efficiency in ways that protects the character of the buildings while also avoiding potential damage to the fabric of the buildings and the health of their occupants.

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