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Traditional buildings an asset not a burden, says Energy Efficiency seminar

6 September 2012

The traditional buildings that comprise a fifth of Scotland’s housing stock should be seen as an asset rather than a burden, an energy efficiency seminar will be told next week.

Historic Scotland’s one day seminar in Edinburgh on Tuesday (September 11th), Energy Efficiency in Traditional Buildings, will hear that traditional buildings can in many instances be improved with basic and affordable energy efficiency measures.

In excess of 400,000 traditional properties can play an important part in a sustainable Scotland, contributing to efforts aimed at tackling climate change through careful management of existing resources, and providing the built heritage appreciated by residents and visitors from around the world.

A new free Historic Scotland publication being launched at the seminar will give guidance on basic improvements suitable for a range of traditional buildings - in many cases, meeting modern standards of energy efficiency.

Commented Historic Scotland’s Head of Technical Research, Roger Curtis: “Traditionally constructed buildings are resilient, adaptable and fully capable of being upgraded to give a much improved thermal performance. We have carried out trial programmes on a range of properties in Scotland, and have shown that in many cases, energy efficiency can be improved without a loss of original building fabric, and that sympathetic intervention can enhance appearance.

“The new Historic Scotland publication draws on these trials to show the practical details and resulting thermal benefits of sensitive upgrades.”

Speakers at the forefront of energy efficiency in traditional buildings, including experts from Historic Scotland, CADW – the agency’s Welsh equivalent, the Scottish Government, and the environmental charity and social enterprise Changeworks, are due to address the seminar at Our Dynamic Earth.

The event has also attracted international guests – Patrice Frey from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, USA, and two speakers from Germany, Jan Prahm and Dr Ralf Kilian.

Subjects range from whole-house upgrades and the environmental value of building re-use, to retrofit projects, which refurbish or re-fit existing homes to make them more energy efficient.

Roger said: “Historic Scotland has helped pioneer retrofit research, and recently won an award from the Carbon Trust for its work on a project in Edinburgh’s South Side. We have also fitted an innovative infra-red heating system at historic Scotstarvit Cottage, in conjunction with The National Trust for Scotland. The benefits of retrofitting are a key element of the new publication, and will form the subject of several talks at the seminar.”

The new Historic Scotland publication, “Fabric improvements for energy efficiency in traditional buildings”, will be available from Tuesday 11th September, free of charge from the agency’s Publications Officer on 0131 668 8638, or can be downloaded free from http://conservation.historic-scotland.gov.uk/publications.

Full programme details, and tickets for the agency’s seminar at Our Dynamic Earth (9am till 6pm), are available from http://conservation.historic-scotland.gov.uk/future-events

Notes for editors:

  • Historic Scotland is an executive agency of the Scottish Government charged with ensuring that our historic environment provides a strong foundation for a successful future for Scotland. The agency is fully accountable to Scottish Ministers and through them to the Scottish Parliament.


  • The Year of Creative Scotland began on January 1, 2012 and will spotlight and celebrate Scotland’s cultural and creative strengths on a world stage. Through a dynamic and exciting year-long programme of activity celebrating our world-class events, festivals, culture and heritage, the year puts Scotland’s culture and creativity in the international spotlight with a focus on cultural tourism and developing the events industry and creative sector in Scotland. More information about the programme can be found at: www.visitscotland.com/creative

  • The Year of Creative Scotland is a Scottish Government initiative led in partnership by EventScotland, VisitScotland, Creative Scotland and VOCAL. More information and resources to help businesses engage with Year of Creative Scotland are available at  www.visitscotland.org/yearofcreativescotland-toolkit

                                                    Year of Creative Scotland 2012

For further information


David Gray
Communications and Media Officer
Communications and Media
0131 668 8588 or 07854 366 805
david.gray@scotland.gsi.gov.uk