Listed Buildings: What are your options?
Buildings which are listed, or are within a conservation area, can sometimes seem like a headache to improve or renovate. Strict planning laws often prevent modern renovations being made, or specific materials being used.
When it comes to installing double glazing on a listed building, it seems the advice that English Heritage are happiest to give out is “don’t”. Clearly, the benefits of double glazing are numerous, particularly in terms of increasing the energy efficiency of your home, reducing your heating bills and indeed pushing up the value of your house.
So what options are available to you, if you wish to install more energy efficient windows in your listed home?
Try to match the style
Nowadays, double glazed windows are available in a wide range of frame styles, including sash and mock Georgian, which have the appearance of traditional windows. These can be constructed from hardwood, to help give the appearance of the original wood frames, and window manufacturers are increasingly able to replicate the original styles.
Make sure you enquire with your local planning office before considering taking this approach, however, as they need to be notified whenever you change anything – especially if it involves replacing window frames. Explain what frame styles and materials you’re looking at, and if possible who you’ve found to supply them.
Re-use the old materials
You can score points with your local planning office by attempting to use the materials – particularly original cylinder and crown glass panes – if your house already has them. Changing out rotten or draughty frames around the original glass can give surprisingly large energy savings, but may require a specialist.
If you’re looking for a fitter you can ask about frames, we can help you find local double glazing suppliers as well as guide prices – our network of suppliers crosses the entire UK, and includes small, independent companies as well as nation wide brands. Just go to WindowQuoter.co.uk to get started straight away.
If you’re unable to match the style of your original windows, either because they are an unusual style or because you can’t find a supplier, one common way of getting around this issue is to simply leave the old windows in place, preserving the listed building’s façade, and install secondary glazing. This is an extra window placed directly behind the existing frame, giving effective double glazing, and all the benefits it provides, without altering or even touching the building’s existing façade.
Secondary Glazing is an excellent way to improve your listed home’s energy efficiency whilst staying within all but the harshest of planning regulations, but can take up space on the windowsill, and is far harder to open. If possible, .
Making efficiency gains elsewhere in the house
If you can’t have secondary glazing or find a suitable way to have double glazing fitted, In many old houses and cottages, the windows do not cover a large proportion of the outside of the building. When this is the case, efficiency savings from installing double glazing can be smaller than you might expect, and greater gains could be made by sealing up draughty holes and window frames.
Find a window supplier who can help you get started by going to WindowQuoter.co.uk for a free online double glazing quotation.
NB: This article applies mainly to Grade II listed buildings, the category which covers 93% of listed buildings in the UK. For Grade I and Grade II* listed buildings, the planning office restrictions also cover changes to the inside of the building, meaning that secondary glazing will also require permission. For more information contact your local planning office.