Policy makers planning for climate change are faced with a lack of reliable data about the behaviours of historic buildings. Most assessments of energy use are based on theoretical models and produce results that often conflict with actual measurements. Many assumptions are made without the measurements to back them up. There is a need to better understand the energy behaviour of homes, old and new, and the impact of any alterations, so that any adaptations are the most suitable and effective for mitigating and adapting to climate change.
English Heritage is undertaking a programme of research designed to monitor the energy consumption of Victorian houses in use. The project aims to work out best practice in measuring energy efficiency, by agreeing standards for monitoring thermal performance in traditional buildings. It will also evaluate the cost-effectiveness of energy-saving options, and ultimately provide guidance on measures to reduce domestic fuel usage and carbon emissions.
The ultimate goal is to provide reliable and well-founded guidance for homeowners on how best to save energy and reduce their carbon footprint, whilst staying comfortable and maintaining their building in the most appropriate ways.