Here’s a list of the most cost-effective measures for historic homes, from cheap to more expensive ones.
1. A traditional flat loses over 20% of its heat through draughty doors and windows and another 20% through uncontrolled ventilation ducts. To retain heat keep doors closed and fit weather-stripping and draught excluders to your doors, windows, letterboxes and keyholes. You can buy them from DIY stores or why not try making your own draught excluders.l
2. Retain even more heat by adding heavy full length curtains, internal blinds, fitted sealed or shutters to your windows. Reinstating wooden shutters in their original location is a very cost-effective measure which enhances the historic character of your home.
Edinburgh University did some research on this - here’s the link
3. At the same time, ensure that your home is always naturally ventilated. This will prevent moisture getting trapped and will maintain the building at a constant temperature, without using energy. Windows, vents, ventilated chimney caps, rooftop ventilators, flues, cupolas, skylights and clerestories can help achieve effective natural ventilation.
4. LED light bulbs use 90% less energy than a normal bulb, lasting 10 times longer and can save £40 during their lifetime. Always allow natural daylight into the rooms by keeping the windows clean and unobstructed.
5. Insulating pipework, valves, boilers, hot-water cylinders and cold-water tanks is easy and won’t affect the visual appearance of your historic home or damage its fabric. Insulating your hot water tank will reduce heat loss by up to 70% and you can fit them yourself for around £12, which will be recovered in the first year.
6. Fitting an energy efficient condensing boiler will save the average household around 30-40% of its fuel bills. Heating and hot water make up over 60% of a home's energy bills on average. Upgrading your boiler will save you money, without affecting the historic character of your home.
7. Heat loss from the roof can be an average 5% in a traditional flat and 35% in a detached house. Insulating your loft is one of the most cost effective ways to reduce your heating bills and you can do-it-yourself. By laying down loft insulation to the recommended thickness of 270mm you could knock up to £150 off your annual heating bill. Make sure you use protective gloves and goggles if you install the insulation yourself.
8. Historic windows with original glass should be retained, overhauled and fitted with concealed draught-proofing, instead of being replaced with modern double glazed ones. Brushes are more effective and more attractive than surface-mounted rubber seals.
9. A traditional cottage or a detached house loses nearly 8% of its heat through the floor. Insulating your floor can be very effective, but it can also be a very delicate operation. An experience joiner should be employed as great care is required with lifting and reaffixing of historic floor boarding. Insulation should be as thick as possible for maximum energy efficiency.
10. The heat loss through the walls represents 45% of the overall loss in a traditional flat and nearly 25% in a detached house. Wall insulation is more effective where plaster has been applied directly, since they lose more heat than walls with traditional lath and plaster.