Historic England report finds “greening” historic homes could save up to 84% in carbon emissions

Historic England publishes the latest report in its Heritage Counts series

25 Mar 2021

Carefully retrofitting historic homes could save up to 84% in carbon emissions, according to this year’s Heritage Counts report, published today (25 March) by Historic England on behalf of England’s leading heritage organisations which make up the Historic Environment Forum and of which Icon is a member.

Buildings, including homes, are the third largest producers of carbon emissions in the UK today and homes alone account for 13% of all the UK’s carbon emissions. England has one of the oldest building stocks in Europe, with a fifth of all homes being over a century old.

...as buildings are the third largest carbon emission producers in the UK after transport and industry we must address their daily emissions. From small behavioural changes to larger energy efficiency improvements this new research demonstrates that we can greatly reduce the carbon footprint of our precious historic homes, whilst maintaining what makes them special.

Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive of Historic England

The 2021 Heritage Counts report aims to support and empower the people who look after historic buildings. It shows the value of good custodianship, the power of small behaviour changes and the need to recycle and reuse buildings first to reduce carbon emissions.

Read the Heritage Counts report

 “Greening” historic homes

Historic homes are all varied, with building type, materials and condition having an impact on their carbon emissions. There are various steps to consider for homeowners for reducing the carbon emissions of their homes.

Seeking professional help from suitably qualified specialists, such as an Icon Accredited Conservator-Restorer, with an understanding of historic homes is important. They can advise on the specific needs of your home and the best actions and materials to suit these needs. Find a conservator you can trust on Icon’s Conservation Register.

© Historic England Infographic showing the impact of small changes, from the Heritage Counts report 2021

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Header image: A Victorian townhouse in Clapham, which underwent a sensitive retrofit project in 2012, by Arboreal Architecture: https://historicengland.org.uk/research/heritage-counts/2019-carbon-in-built-environment/case-studies/listed-victorian-townhouse/ Copyright Arboreal Architecture