The Sustainable Traditional Buildings Alliance is a collaboration of organisations that acts as a forum for sustaining and improving *traditional buildings.


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*Traditional construction (solid wall) differs significantly  from modern construction in that modern buildings are designed to keep moisture out with layers of impervious materials such as cement and plastic membranes. Traditional buildings however work by using solid semi-permeable materials that can absorb moisture without damage and release it slowly back into the environment as conditions become dryer. Adequate ventilation is a key part of this process. This is often referred to as ‘breathable construction’ and encompasses solid masonry buildings as well as timber framed construction, generally constructed before the First World War.

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Featured News


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STBA-SPAB Conference - Sustainability of Traditional Buildings - June 2018


A full house of delegates, speakers and exhibitors joined STBA and SPAB for the annual joint conference on 7th June 2018.


We are in the process of uploading the presentations - click here to see what is currently available.



New STBA report released


EPCs and the Whole House Approach

May 2018

 

Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) are increasingly being used in UK policy as a means of driving the energy efficiency of the existing building stock. However, there are significant problems with this approach. The report provides an overview of the key issues, constraints and opportunities surrounding EPCs, identifying ways in which they could be better aligned with the ‘whole-house’ approach to retrofit developed by the STBA and recommended in the Each Home Counts report.

 

This study reveals that there are significant opportunities in the short term to improve clarity and understanding about the nature and limitations of EPCs. There needs to be a clear recognition that the EPC is not a substitute for an energy audit. Changes to presentation and the inclusion of key caveats concerning moisture, ventilation and heritage would also help to reduce the risks of misunderstanding and misuse.

 

In the longer term, it is becoming increasingly recognised that we need to deliver a sustainable built environment and not just a low carbon one, so a broader assessment is needed which has a wider set of goals - in other words, a Whole House approach, and an EPC can form an important part of the required assessment.

 

This scoping study has been prepared by the Sustainable Traditional Buildings Alliance (STBA) on behalf of Historic England and the National Trust. 

 

The scoping study can be downloaded here.

 

 

 


Retrofit is at risk if not “whole house” approach

March 2018

 

Problems revealed in the article “Disastrous Preston retrofit” by Kate de Selincourt (in Passive House Plus magazine) flag up the consequences of retrofit without the ‘Whole House’ approach. Unless the functioning of the building as a whole is taken into account, the result of retrofit will at best will be ineffectual and at worst damage the health of the building and occupants.

 

The STBA was established in response to concern over the  “rush to retrofit”. Our work in this area continues so that the failures, such as in Preston, can be avoided. The STBA has produced guidance and information including “Planning Responsible Retrofit” and “Whole House” . In addition, we were commissioned to produce the Moisture in Buildings paper published by bsi and we have worked with Bristol City Council to deliver their guidance on “Solid Wall Insulation”  and training programme for Bristol’s professionals and installers.

 

We are optimistic that, as the Whole House approach is starting to be recognised in government policy and guidance, retrofit will improve. However, there is still much work to be done and shall continue to apply pressure for more change – especially in the areas of assessment of buildings, EPCs and the SAP system for measuring energy rating.


Download What is Whole House Retrofit here


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Forthcoming Events




Upcoming Events by Others: 

 


SPAB Working Party Open Day


- 15 July 2018 - Barking, London

  

More . . . . 



Retrofitting Traditional Buildings: Principles and Practice - The Green Register

These one-day technical training events are run by STBA Supporting Organisation, The Green Register, and led by STBA Technical Director, Nicholas Heath. Nick covers current issues, solutions and emerging best practice in how to achieve ‘responsible retrofit’ – sustainable, low-energy traditional buildings with retained character, minimal risk to buildings and occupants and real benefits for all.

 

- 27 June, Bristol

- 12 September, Glasgow

- 19 September, London 

- 10 October, Manchester 

- 5 December, Exeter

 

More . . . 


SPAB Old House Show


- 7 & 8 September 2018, London

 

More . . .



Repair of Old Buildings Courses - SPAB

 
- 8-12 October 2018  



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Guidance


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Whole House Retrofit: a short paper that sets out the background to the development of the whole house approach, then examines the various levels of retrofit which are often described as whole house but in reality most fall far short. 

 

The STBA’s optimal approach (Responsible Retrofit) is explained, together with a final section which looks forward to a vision of transformative retrofit and the role that it could play in delivering a truly sustainable society for the 21st century. 


What-is-Whole-House-Retrofit-Dec2016.pdf
Whole House Retrofit

Planning Responsible Retrofit: designed for use by owners, designers, project managers and contractors when planning a retrofit project. 

the STBA Guide to Planning Responsible Retrofit.pdf
Planning Responsible Retrofit
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Bristolians' Solid Wall Insulation Guidance: a user-friendly online tool and complimentary guide is available for those living in Bristol to help them make more informed decisions about how to insulate their homes. And you can see the online tool (and video) 

by clicking here (and then follow 'begin survey'.)
2015_bristolsolidwallinsulationguidance.pdf
Bristolian Solid Wall Insulation Guidance


Moisture in Buildings: an integrated approach to risk assessment and guidance by Neil May (UK Centre for Moisture in Buildings) and Chris Sanders 


Available to download via the bsi website.

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Policy


An immediate objective of the STBA is to focus on the risks and benefits associated with generic approaches to repair, maintenance and retro-fitting of traditional buildings. We have completed a gap analysis of current research on performance of traditional buildings, including an analysis of expertise and skills, in order to inform future research and policies. 

 

We are establishing advocacy routes to key decision-makers involved in the sustainability of the built environment, including the Green Deal, in order to help inform policy development relating to traditional buildings.

 

We have completed a gap analysis of current research on performance of traditional buildings, including an analysis of expertise and skills, in order to inform future research and policies.

 

In addition, the STBA has identified three key areas of immediate concern relating to standards used in the refurbishment of traditional buildings:

  • Government Consultations - We are establishing advocacy routes to key decision-makers involved in the sustainability of the built environment, in order to help inform policy development relating to traditional buildings.
     
  • Standards and Regulations - The STBA has identified three key areas of immediate concern relating to standards used in the refurbishment of traditional buildings: Moisture Risk, Heat Loss and Internal Wall Insulation (IWI)  
     
  • Advocacy - The STBA is also seeking to influence the performance/ delivery of retrofit projects on traditional buildings by working with leading owners of building stock to measure and improve the interventions adopted. So far this work has included work for Blackpool Council and Bristol City Council. 

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Get Involved  -  STBA Membership


Organisations interested in supporting our work can get involved as a 

Member (not-for-profits) or Affiliate Member (for profit) Click here


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