There was a time when insulating an historic property meant treading lightly on its building fabric. But today, guided by building physics, passive house designers continue to push the boundaries of retrofit by bringing old homes up to modern standards of super-insulation. This project is the third such deep retrofit to an historic London property by Green Tomato Energy.
The general consensus is that it’s not appropriate to upgrade historic buildings to avant garde energy efficiency levels, creating a sense that conservation of the natural and built environments may be mutually exclusive concerns. Not so, argue Arboreal Architecture’s Harry Paticas and passive house engineer Alan Clarke in an updated version of a paper presented at the 2014 International Passive House Conference, about a highly experimental upgrade to a London townhouse that may point to a sustainable solution.
Historic buildings are all too easy to ignore when considering potential candidates for energy upgrade work. The heritage value of an historic building can often mitigate against the most obvious interventions, such as adding some form of wall insulation or replacing windows. Architect Fergal McGirl takes a typical Georgian building in Dublin through the energy rating process and proposes some considered upgrade measures.