The Retrofit Conference focused on the practical, financial and strategic issues and solutions associated with retrofitting listed, historical and traditional buildings.  The programme featured experts who are involved with implementing carbon optimisation strategies, as well as strategists and consultants with a deep knowledge of the subject.


Past Events - 2013 & 2014

SPAB technical day: Old building energy efficiency research 

3oth October 2012

Presentations on the work of STBA

Venue: Fazeley Studios, Birmingham 


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Recognising, protecting and retrofitting

vulnerable buildings: the work of the STBA

Presentation by Neil May


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13th of February, 2013

Healthy Retrofit

Examination of some retrofit projects seeking high levels of energy efficiency improvement, and exploration of how sustainable products can help.

Speakers included: 

  • Johhny Winter, Cullinan Studio
  • Neil May, STBA/ ASBP and NBT
  • Richard Griffiths, Parity Projects
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11th of July, 2013

Responsible Retrofit Conference 

Neil May from STBA discussed the challenges of retrofitting at scale and then introduce the Guidance Tool, which we are developing on behalf of DECC. 


Attendees also had the opportunity to test the prototype guide for responsible retrofit of traditional buildings to feedback on content and its function, which will feed into the next stage of the development of the tool.

Many thanks to the Centre of Refurbishment Excellence and Encraft for organising the conference. 

18th June, 2013

Energy Efficiency Research Update Conference  


On 18th June, 55 experts in traditional buildings and energy efficiency in buildings gathered together in London to discuss the latest developments in understanding of the retrofit process for traditional buildings. 

Representatives from DECC, English Heritage, Historic Scotland, BRE, UCL, STBA and SPAB all contributed and the panel was updated on research taking place elsewhere in Europe. There were detailed presentations on moisture movements within walls and the risk of interstitial condensation arising from internal solid wall insulation. Latest research into unintended consequences of floor insulation was also presented. 


The combination of expertise in SPAB and STBA makes this panel the pre-eminent forum in the UK to develop an understanding of the most appropriate strategies for the retrofit of traditional buildings.


18th & 25th of February, 2013

Sustainability and Historic Buildings  

Organised by Coventry University's Sustainable Building Futures project.

Speakers: Steven Coulsting from Encraft

Topics covered included:

  • Assessment of a historic building
  • Proposals for sustainability improvements
  • Site visit to Holy Trinity Church
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Thanks to Cathie Clarke, for producing Conference Notes to summarise the event. 

Please click here to access the document. 

22nd October 2013

Old Building Energy Efficiency Research Seminar


This joint STBA/SPAB event was held in York on 22nd October.  Over 100 delegates joined experts on all aspects of energy efficiency in traditional buildings for a full day's seminar to share knowledge and gain an update on latest research in this area.


The keynote speaker was Hunter Danskin, Head of Technical Energy Analysis at DECC, who discussed the trade-off between energy efficiency and low carbon rule sources. He touched on potential unintended consequences of attempts to reduce the demand for space heating in traditional buildings past a certain point and recognised that the considerations of both aesthetics and space are important to building owners. In a second address he also gave an overview of current DECC research in this area, including projects being carried out by STBA.

Neil May, Project Lead for the STBA, gave a presentation on our Guidance Wheel and forthcoming Knowledge Centre, plus the current work being done to produce Moisture Guidance. This latter project has been widened to encompass all building types, new and retrofit. Neil also explained the theory of unintended consequences in more detail and spelled out the dangers of the current approach which fails to recognise the uncertainties implicit in the retrofit process and the risks to human health as well as building structures.


Colin King, Associate Director of BRE Wales summarised the ongoing DECC-funded Solid Wall Heat Loss project, providing delegates with useful examples of building failures directly attributable to solid wall insulation. He also made the important point that air tightness itself can lead to issues - for example in Cornwall where radon gas build-up may become a further risk. He stressed that many aspects of the current retrofit process are not fit for purpose when looking at traditional buildings - and these will be the majority of solid wall isolation projects.


Presentations are available - see here

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15th February 2014
The Old House Eco Course by SPAB, London

Saturday 15 February 2014 from 09.15 to 17.30 at St Paul's Centre, Hammersmith, London


The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings offered homeowners a day’s course on appropriate retrofit measures for traditional (pre-1919) buildings. 


This course was also of interest to professionals who brief their clients (homeowners) on improving the energy efficiency of pre-1919 buildings. It will give the background to the latest building science with practical advice and examples of best practice.  There was an emphasis on an holistic approach to retrofitting without devaluing the future sustainability or character of the building.


Led by Marianne Suhr and Roger Hunt, authors of the Old House Eco Handbook, the course presented case studies and lectures based on the themes of the book, focusing in turn on walls, windows and doors, and roofs, ceilings and floors.

Speakers included Chris Newman from STBA Affiliates, Parity Projects, and Jonathan Garlick of SPAB gave a presentation prepared by Paul Mallion of Conker Conservation.

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26th February 2014

National Trust Environmental Day, Swindon


STBA participated in the National Trust Environmental Day at their Head Office in Swindon.  This comprised a full day of CPD presentations for the Building and Rural Surveyors and Environmental Practices Advisors from across the Trust.


Talks included a presentation of the STBA Wheel by Isabel Carmona.


The National Trust also opened the day out to Central Office staff (approx. 400 plus regional and external visitors) to celebrate the environmental aspects of their buildings and raise awareness of environmental performance more generally.  A number of manufacturers and organisations exhibited.

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27th February 2014

Energy Efficiency and Traditional Buildings, AECB Oxford

STBA’s Nigel Griffiths and Isabel Carmona joined the two Group Leaders of AECB Oxford to lead discussions on retrofit measures in older buildings. 

Talks were given by Nigel and Isabel in addition to a presentation on Oxford City Council’s Heritage Energy Efficiency Tool (HEET) by Senior Conservation Officer, Rob Lloyd Sweet.

The meeting was held in a very appropriate venue, the Old Library in the Town Hall at St Aldate’s, Oxford Those attending included town planners, green deal assessors and conservation consultants (Richard Oxley of STBA Affiliates Oxley Conservation).  There was much interest in the STBA Wheel and many are looking forward to being able to try it for themselves.


The work of both AECB Oxford Group Leaders, Debbie Haynes and Alex Baines, includes upgrading traditional buildings.  Debbie is the Energy Efficiency Projects Officer at Oxford City Council, leading on ECO funding and energy strategy for the Council’s housing stock and private rented sector in addition to broader Green Deal, Fuel Poverty and energy related work.  Alex is Head of Sustainability & Building Physics at CBG Consultants and also runs CPDs for the RIBA on strategies and constraints for the integration of modern building facilities and services in historic buildings.

Rob Lloyd Sweet has worked for several years as a Conservation Officer at both Oxford City Council and Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council.  Prior to this Rob worked for The Conservation Studio, a planning and architectural practice that works principally for local authorities and other public sector organisations


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4th-6th March 2014

Ecobuild, Excel, London

Despite having the graveyard slot at the end of the 3-day event, STBA drew a sell-out crowd for the session on traditional buildings, chaired by our technical lead, Neil May.


There was standing room only as Neil introduced the topic of energy efficiency measures in listed and conservation area buildings.

Opening the session, Colin King of BRE Wales demonstrated examples of building failures caused by inappropriately applied solid wall insulation strategies.  Colin stressed the need for better information to be provided throughout the industry.


Roger Curtis, Co-Chair of STBA and Technical Research Manager at Historic Scotland gave some positive examples of successful strategies on projects in Scotland which minimised the impact on heritage whilst using vapour-open materials to eliminate technical risks. He also showed how much can be done to improve the performance of windows without resorting to window replacement.

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13th March 2014

Wales Launch of the Guidance Wheel 

It was with much anticipation that STBA Guidance Wheel and Knowledge Centre  retrofit tools were launched on 13th March 2014. 

This was celebrated with an event at Radisson Blu Hotel, Cardiff with invited guests enjoying an evening hosted by Chartered Institute of Building and Construction Industry Training Board.

The speakers were John Edwards (Cadw Assistant Director and STBA Co-founder), Isabel Carmona (Lead on the trial of the Guidance Wheel) and  Nigel Griffiths (STBA Director).

The first project to launch this innovative retrofit guidance tool was Cadw’s Heritage Cottage exemplar project in Cwmdare, Wales. 


Isabel Carmona and Nigel Griffiths visited this small terrace house on the morning of 13th March and carried out an assessment of possible retrofit measures using the #STBAwheel . 

More to follow on the conclusions as well as Isabel and Nigel's remarks.

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1st April 2014

Scotland Launch of the Guidance Wheel

This took place at The Scottish Lime Centre, at their Charlestown Workshops, 2 Rocks Rd, Charlestown, Fife KY11 3EN


The event included speeches by STBA Co-Chairs:

  • Sam Allwinkle (CIAT, Napier University) STBA Industry Chair
  • Roger Curtis (Historic Scotland) STBA Conservation Chair
  • Neil May (ASBP, NBT) STBA Sustainability & Technical Chair
Earlier in the day at the Lime Centre, Natural Building Technologies  and the Better Retrofit Partnership held a Master Class and those attending the Master Class were invited to stay on for the launch.
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9th & 10th April 2014

Retrofit Conference, Queens College Cambridge

We joined CIOB, National Trust and Bidwells for the Retrofit Conference on 10th April.


On the evening of 9th April (from 5.00 pm) there was a Pre-Conference Dinner and Evening Session that included a tour of New Court, Trinity College Grade I listed building (to be retrofitted to the highest appropriate standards) and an after dinner speech by John Vidal, Guardian Environmental Editor.


Key Note speaker, Rt Hon Gregory Barker, outlined the Government's strategic priorities and plans in this connection.


Venue: Queens' College, Silver Street, Cambridge, CB3 9ET


The slides are currently available on the Retrofit Conference website.

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17th June 2014

STBA & SPAB Technical Panel

Energy Efficiency Research Update

The annual SPAB-STBA technical panel on energy efficiency in traditional buildings has firmly established the STBA as having the leadership in the this field.


This year, chaired by Charles Blackett-Ord of SPAB, the panel comprised speakers from government, conservation bodies, academia and the third sector, including DECC, BRE, UCL, UBT, English Heritage, Historic Scotland and the National Trust. Among a fully-subscribed audience we were also delighted to welcome more representatives of industry, as they have an increasingly important role to play in ensuring that the retrofit process is delivered responsibly.

  • Caroline Rye of Archimetrics updated the guests on the latest research on hygrothermal behavior of walls both before and after insulation retrofit for a variety of different wall constructions. This work is being carried out under the SPAB Building Performance Survey.
  • English Heritage also presented their latest research into moisture accumulation in walls. Historic Scotland explained how this subject is starting to be tackled in Europe, initially through the Effesus project in which they remain involved.
  • Adrian Leaman of the Usable Buildings Trust explained the process of developing the STBA’s Guidance Wheel and gave an entertaining introduction to its operation.
  • Clive Shrubsole of University College London presented the 100 unintended consequences of policies to improve the energy efficiency of the UK’s housing stock. This paper highlights the need to move from a single-focus policy (emissions from buildings in use) to a more rounded definition of sustainability especially including human health.
  • Colin King of BRE presented the results of their investigations into solid wall constructions on behalf of DECC and highlighted the variety of risks arising from poor design and application of solid wall insulation. The first formal report from this project is expected later this year.
  • Finally, Neil May presented plans for the development of an STBA paper to examine the meaning of sustainability within the context of traditional buildings and their contribution to the built environment. This paper promises to redefine the debate on renovation, by articulating the need to see traditional buildings in their proper context and to include all aspects of sustainability in the assessment of how to go about retrofit. Supporting organisations have already come forward to sponsor this important paper and others can still be added.
  • The Technical Panel concluded with a lively question and answer session chaired by STBA’s Nigel Griffiths, where guests contributed to the growing knowledge base on the subject but also demonstrated a remarkably consistent viewpoint, given the diverse group of stakeholders present. 

Notes on the day's proceedings can be downloaded from our Presentations Resources

including the transcript from Neil May's talk "Heritage and the Philosophy of Sustainability".

The presentations and transcripts are available to those invited to participate in the Technical Day.

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17th July 2014

CoRE Responsible Retrofit Course

The CoRE Responsible Retrofit course on 17th July at the FMB in London was delivered by Encraft as part of the Retrofit Coordinator Fast Track programme.

This masterclass builds on the work of the Sustainable Traditional Buildings Alliance (STBA), presents methods of identifying and assessing vulnerable traditional buildings, and reviews appropriate retrofit specifications.


CoRE Fellow, Dr Sarah Price, delivered the event that included training on the STBA Wheel.  Her feedback was that the “Wheel was well received”. 

Sarah has worked for Encraft since 2010 after completing her PhD in Molecular Physics at the University of Birmingham. She is a Certified Passivhaus Consultant and part of the Encraft engineering team, specialising in building physics and project management.

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July 2014

STBA Guidance Wheel Presentations

Nigel Griffiths has been presenting STBA’s research and the Guidance Wheel to a variety of audiences over the past month. 

Two events for the National Trust, organised by STBA affiliate Parity Projects have drawn together professionals and contractors working in the retrofit of traditional buildings. The first event at Stowe in Buckinghamshire, featured a tour of the refurbished New Inn there and the second at Coleshill near Swindon included a tour of the village and the retrofit works carried out there. 

On 24th July Nigel addressed an audience of architects, Green Deal Assessors and Retrofit contractors drawn together by the Energy Saving Trust (Wales) and Regen South West in Bristol. 

The Guidance Wheel was very well received and while Green Deal Assessors were surprised to hear that there were technical risks with solid wall insulation and other retrofit measures they were grateful that an organisation was taking these risks seriously and providing tools and information to help manage these risks. 

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September 2014

Historic Buildings and Retrofitting

Our Director, Nigel Griffiths was a guest speaker at a 2-day workshop delivered by SPAB at Coventry University.  The theme that ran throughout the talks and case studies was the importance of understanding the construction and performance of solid-wall buildings and the need to make sure new materials and technologies are compatible with these.  

The format was based on a number of talks, looking at each area of a building in turn discussing the different options/materials, their uses and the potential issues, with a focus on practical advice and examples of best practice. 


The main presenters of this course were Marianne Suhr and Roger Hunt, authors of the Old House Handbook and Old House Eco Handbook.

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September 2014

Towards a sustainable historic environment: Historic Scotland’s Energy Efficiency Conference 2014

The STBA participated in Historic Scotland's two day Energy Efficiency Conference.  The varied two day programme included presentations covering current and ongoing issues regarding energy efficiency and fabric improvements in traditional buildings from a mix of international and homegrown speakers.

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October 2014

Responsible Retrofit of Traditional Buildings (Scotland)

The CoRE Responsible Retrofit course on 28th October at Edinburgh College was delivered by Encraft.


This series of masterclasses build on the work of the Sustainable Traditional Buildings Alliance (STBA), presented methods of identifying and assessing vulnerable traditional buildings, and reviews appropriate retrofit specifications.

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November 2014

SPAB-STBA Old Building Energy Efficiency Research Seminar

The annual SPAB / STBA conference on Energy Efficiency in old buildings was held late in 2014 in Carlisle. Despite the northerly location the conference was very well attended by delegates from a wide variety of organisations both public and private.


We were treated to the very latest research in this area from an entertaining panel of speakers, chaired by SPAB’s Jonathan Garlick. A particular highlight was the presentation by Adrian Leaman (of Useable Buildings Trust) on the STBA’s guidance wheel and the thinking that went into it.  Roger Curtis of Historic Scotland also gave a very useful talk on published research in this area – a guide for the perplexed – there is so much material to wade through but still some major gaps.


The seminar was recognised for Continuing Professional Development by the Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC).

We would like to thank the IHBC North branch for their help in organising this event.

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November 2014

Responsible Retrofit of Traditional Buildings

Encraft delivered the Responsible Retrofit of Traditional Buildings module in London as part of the Centre of Refurbishment Excellence (CoRE) Diploma. The module would be led by Sarah Price – CoRE Fellow and experienced Building Physics Consultant at Encraft.


This masterclass was held at the Federation of Master Builders, London.


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Feedback (left)  

from one of the delegates, 

Lisa Ann Pasquale of 

Six Cylinder Limited, 

via Twitter.

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November 2014

Newcastle University School of Architecture's 'Industries of Architecture' event

STBA Steering Group member, Sofie Pelsmakers and STBA Chair Roger Curtis took part in the Retrofit in Practice Workshop on the afternoon of 14th November in Newcastle.

November 2014

Responsible Retrofit of Traditional Buildings

This unit was presented by Neil May, Chief Executive (of STBA Affiliates Natural Building Technologies and Chair of the STBA) and forms part of the CoRE Retrofit Coordinator programmeMore information on the CoRE website

The CoRE Masterclass took place on 26th November 2014 at the CoRE Conference and Demonstrator Centre in Stoke-on-Trent.  It
builds on the work of the STBA and presents methods of identifying and assessing vulnerable traditional buildings, and reviews appropriate retrofit specifications.

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Clive Shrubsole of UCL explained the 100 (well, not all of them) unintended consequences of policies to improve the energy efficiency of the UK’s housing stock – a little scary. Updates on technical evidence were presented by Caroline Rye on behalf of SPAB and Paul Baker on behalf of English Heritage.It was also good to see some hard evidence on retrofit schemes in Blackpool, Stockton and Liverpool, and to understand the practical challenges which arose. Neil May of STBA also presented their ongoing research on Moisture Guidance and IWI, with formal publication of these papers due in 2015.


The conference concluded with a lively Q&A session chaired by Nigel Griffiths, which provided some interesting themes for next year’s conference.


The Presentations are available to delegates to download if needed.


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On 30th September the conference looked at international approaches towards a sustainable historic environment including climatic, economic and social impacts on the built heritage and presenting international research, initiatives and case studies. 

On day two there was a Scottish focus, with updates on Historic Scotland’s research, current and emerging legislation, technical solutions and case studies.

There were also many exhibitors and delegates were given plenty of opportunity to visit their stands.

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Historic Scotland's Hygrothermal Seminar, provided an overview of the various hygrothermal topics relevant to the conservation and retrofit of older historic buildings. Following an introductory presentation by Ewan Hyslop and Carsten Hermann of Historic Scotland, Joseph Little of Building Life Consultancy and Chris Sanders of Glasgow Caledonian University discussed the two principal methods currently used for hygrothermal assessments of building construction –the Glaser method and numerical simulation– together with associated standards and software tools. 

State-of-the-art methods for moisture measurements in situ were presented by Caroline Rye of ArchiMetrics and Valentina Marincioni of University College London. Focussing more specifically on material deterioration, Christopher Hall of the University of Edinburgh described the multitude of factors involved in moisture evaporation and Stephen McCabe of Northern Ireland Environment Link discussed the impact of increased rain water penetration on stone deterioration processes at a chemical and physical microscale. 

This was complemented by Joseph Hagg of Adaptation Scotland with an overview about the availability of data on weather and climate change and by Paul Baker, Mark Phillipson and Chris Sanders of Glasgow Caledonian University with two presentations about the hygrothermal monitoring at, and associated simulations of, a Historic Scotland site project in Glasgow. In addition to the ten presentations, WUFI computer simulations and on site moisture monitoring techniques were demonstrated.

The seminar was organised to launch the publication of Historic Scotland Technical Paper 15 about Assessing Insulation Retrofits with Hygrothermal Simulation, authored by Joseph Little, Calina Ferraro and Beñat Arregi, all of whom are current or former members of Building Life Consultancy."


Speakers Presentations:

Ewan Hyslop & Carsten Hermann
 Ewan Hyslop & Carsten Hermann Presentation [pdf, 5.1mb]
Chris Sanders
 Chris Sanders Presentation [pdf, 2.8mb]
Joseph Little
 Joseph Little Presentation [pdf, 2.3mb]
Christopher Hall
 Christopher Hall Presentation [pdf, 767kb]
Caroline Rye
 Caroline Rye Presentation [pdf, 1.9mb]
Valentina Marincioni
 Valentina Marincioni Presentation [pdf, 1.5mb]
Joseph Hagg
 Joseph Hagg Presentation [pdf, 3.1mb]
Stephen McCabe
 Stephen McCabe Presentation [pdf, 1.0mb]
Paul Baker & Mark Phillipson
 Paul Baker & Mark Phillipson Presentation [pdf, 1.1mb]
Chris Sanders
 Chris Sanders Presentation [pdf, 751kb]


Also available at

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The STBA participated at Ecobuild this year on the role of traditional buildings in a future sustainable built environment. Our seminar on 4 March, entitled "Are traditional buildings really carbon villains?" was held in Refurb and Retro-Fit area and chaired by STBA Chair, Roger Curtis.  It explored the real performance of traditional buildings, new sustainability approaches to individual and estate-wide renovation, and the practical, social and cultural contribution of the traditional built environment to a sustainable future.  

The thrust of the argument - against traditional buildings having little or no value in a sustainable future - was the inaccurate methods of evaluating the thermal performance of solid walls.  

This leads to inappropriate retrofit strategies being used, causing inefficiencies in thermal performance and even damage to the health of the buildings and occupants. 


Topics covered:

  • The real performance of traditional buildings: Are they really carbon villains they are portrayed to be?   
    Caroline Rye, Co-Director, ArchiMetrics; and Lead Researcher, SPAB
  • Refurbish or retain: A whole estate strategy   
    James Lloyd, Senior External Affairs Adviser, National Trust
  • Villains or visionaries? The role of traditional buildings in a sustainable built environment   
    Nigel Griffiths, STBA 
  • Refurbish or retain: Strategies for individual buildings   
    Roger Curtis, Technical Research Manager, Historic Scotland
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In addition to the issues of energy efficiency and the required holistic approach for responsible retrofit, Nigel spoke of the need to treasure existing, valuable buildings. 

This aspect of sustainability will be the focus of several STBA events and workshops this year, culminating in a paper on the role of traditional buildings in a sustainable built environment. 

Rather than destroying older, character buildings in a misdirected effort to reduce energy consumption, we should be looking at the value of what has already been built and its value in our societies. By throwing the baby out with the bathwater we would be losing valuable, irreplaceable assets that, as have been shown, are not the 'Carbon Villains' they are made out to be.

March 2015, London

Ecobuild Seminar: 

"Are Traditional Buildings Carbon Villains?"

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Key messages to emerge from the conference included:

  • Scale - over 5 million traditional homes needed to be improved by 2050
  • No one size fits all - each traditional building is different, as are the occupants
  • Monitoring - more data is needed on the impact of retrofitting measures on traditional fabric
  • Strategy - government needs to tackle the strategic funding, standards, and skills challenges.
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This conference organised by the Sustainable Traditional Buildings Alliance together with Fit for the Future Network (and supported by the IHBC among others) was timely, encouraging and daunting in equal measure.  Timely, with 2050 retrofitting targets now biting more sharply following approval of the Private Rented Sector Regulations (of which more in a future “Context”). Encouraging, because what would just a few years ago have been a fringe event, was now mainstream with issues at last being taken really seriously. Daunting, as successive speakers from a wide range of organisations highlighted just how wide-ranging and massive the challenges are. The 120 delegates came from a wide variety of different backgrounds, including developers and contractors, insurers, housing associations and local government.


Over 5 million traditional homes need to be improved by 2050; there is political consensus for a more stringent target of up to 95% reduced CO2 emissions. There are opportunities provided that we get it right first time, and ‘street by street and house by house” (Ingrid Samuel, NT).  Bristol City Council is trying the latter, at scale, using the Green Deal Communities scheme and a Private Rented Sector pilot.  This requires major investment in a public engagement through a holistic team, and a sustainable network of installers; even with £62.5M European support, the Council faces problems of uncertain funding streams and a system which favours larger contractors. There is an urgent need for Government to provide long-term, consistent funding systems aligned with best practice.


There is far too little understanding of traditional buildings. Hunter Danskin (DECC) described the shocked faces in his department when research revealed that the thermal performance of solid walls had been significantly underestimated for SAP assessments.  There is a massive disconnect between current retrofit practice and traditional buildings: current standards, systems, calculated values and warranties all give false assurances, with 126 unintended consequences (27 involving significant risks to health and/or building fabric) of retrofit works (Colin King, BRE); “wrong assessments, assumptions, and measures” being applied, and an urgent need to learn from experience, but potential liabilities lead to denial and lack of transparency (Neil May, STBA).  


Colin King asked how “do we make things better until regulations, standards and certification all catch up?”  There is progress within DECC on some of the technical aspects (e.g. through the STBA Guidance Wheel and forthcoming Moisture Guidance and revision of BS5250), but there is no sign yet of the fundamental and wide-ranging strategic changes in practice, training and delivery which are essential to provide sustainable retrofit on the scale needed – particularly as we have to get it right, first time (Ingrid Samuel, NT), to avoid wasting carbon and money.  There is an equally urgent political need for Government to get to grips with the policy and resourcing implications and challenges of the agreed statutory targets.


But what is best practice? Some help is on the way, with STBA preparing guidance on Solid Wall Insulation for Bristol City Council, and the Centre for Sustainable Energy working for Historic England on guidance for Local Authorities; there were calls for conservation and sustainability officers to work more closely together.  An insurer delegate pleaded for a single clear guide, but ”one size fits all” doesn’t work when every building (and occupant) is different:  “we have 57,000 different properties and 57,000 different archetypes” (Alex Willey, Affinity Sutton).


Nick Heath and others described major problems with solid wall insulation, with gaps in knowledge, minimal guidance, unsuitable materials, bad detailing, and conflicts between energy conservation and retention of historic features; guidance prepared for Blackpool and for Bristol seeks to reduce the problems.  Rachel Coxcoon (Centre for Sustainable Energy) suggested we need to focus on the ‘easy wins’ – improving the thermal performance of traditional buildings without trapping moisture or otherwise damaging their fabric.  Others were sceptical about the possibility of “easy wins”, arguing that we have to move beyond individual measures, to a “whole house” approach. Either way, the objective can only be achieved if the assessor, specifier and installer understand traditional buildings – and as was pointed out, a key element (missing so far) has to be design.

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We would like to thank the Conference Supporters and Sponsors

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Presentations from the day are available for download - click here.

And for more photos, visit the Fit for the Future Network website - click here