How Georgian living can be a pane.

Elsewhere – on this front page – l have mentioned a webinar B&NES are holding on Thursday, November 19th which deals with how improving the energy efficiency of homes can help tackle the climate emergency.

With this in mind, George Feiger wrote:

‘Richard, I live in a Georgian terrace. The main contributors to cold and wind in the house are the single pane windows.

The planners refuse to let us replace them with look-alike double panel glass. This has a large effect on my heating bill, also know as my energy usage.

Bath is a Georgian city. Every such building has these problems. It was ok to allow indoor plumbing, but not apparently ok to save energy.

It would be very beneficial, both to the residents and to the environment, to allow look-alike but energy-saving windows and doors.”

George l took up your issues with Bath Preservation Trust and hope you – and anyone else who lives in a heritage building – will find their response interesting.

A spokesperson told me:

“The first thing I should say is that living in a listed building does carry certain responsibilities and carry more restrictions. However, conservation can be described as ‘managed change’ which is why BPT produced its guidance to householders ‘ Making Changes’, to help them through these issues.

This is free to download  https://www.bath-preservation-trust.org.uk/issue/making-changes-bpt-guidance-for-owners-of-listed-buildings/

We have taken an interest in climate change and energy efficiency in building for years, and our award winning guidance ‘Warmer Bath’ https://www.cse.org.uk/downloads/reports-and-publications/energy-advice/insulation-and-heating/warmer_bath_june2011.pdf, which is now, astonishingly, nearly 10 years old, provided detailed guidance on steps that owners of traditional homes can take to make their properties more energy efficient, as well as recognising the need to keep air circulating in traditional buildings.

 The Council’s subsequent sustainability guidance covers similar ground and also sets out their position in relation to planning. https://beta.bathnes.gov.uk/policy-and-documents-library/energy-efficiency-renewable-energy-guidance-listed-buildings-and

So this is the context in which double glazing should be seen. As far as the planning position is concerned, BPT will object to the loss of traditional timber sash windows and replacement with uPVC on listed buildings (and traditional buildings in the Conservation Area) but we will accept or support double glazing when: 

  • It uses timber & slim profile
  • The correct glazing bar profile is reinstated
  • There’s no loss of original historic fabric
  • The historic significance of the principal façade is unharmed
  • Ventilation of the whole house has been considered.

Our position on this is sometimes more liberal than some consideration officers in the Local Planning Authority (B&NES).   

If the window material IS historic, then we would recommend consideration of secondary glazing rather than double glazing, as well as, obviously, reinstatement of working shutters and all the other measures that can help in energy efficiency.

We would also encourage the servicing of all historic sashed to improve their fit and ‘hang’ to minimise draughts.”

 I was told that the Trust is happy to answer queries directly to householders – their email conservation@bptrust.org.uk

Meanwhile, Bath Newseum follower Paul Jackson has commented about t”he above:

“This keeps on cropping up – but I can’t see the problem.

Storm Windows and other providers sell internal secondary glazing, specifically for listed buildings. They are invisible from the outside and unobtrusive from the inside. They are thin enough not to interfere with the opening and closing of Georgian shutters.

The secondary windows can be half opened in situ or taken out entirely in summer – they come in a frame held in place by magnetic strips.

Apart from cutting down on heat loss they are also more efficient at insulating against external noise. Nor do they mist over the way sealed unit double glazing windows do after a while.”

Thanks Paul.

2 Comments

  1. We live in a listed building outside of Bath and recently replaced our old windows with wooden ones as specified by listed buildings (they are not sash windows). The double glazing is narrow, Argon filled and expensive. However it looks good, insulates well and to our great surprise provides excellent sound insulation too. We are pleasantly surprised.

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  2. Dear Richard, How about a forum on grade listed properties? This is far too important for the future of Bath to leave it stultified. If we look ahead then my grandchildren will no more think of living in a house subject to onerous restrictions than they would think of restoring a vintage car. They would be appalled at the carbon needed to sustain these policies. Instead of being in denial our conservationists should be actively seeking ways to solve the energy problems. How about sponsoring a search for ways to make our windows energy efficient? Throughout the last 250 years each generation has adapted these fine houses to meet their needs. What has gone wrong since about the 1950’s? Only an act of stupidity by government has saved these houses from being condemned as unsaleable and we have the next 30 or so years to put this right. Future generations will not stand for this level of climate destruction. Will it be too late to find ways to meet the needs of climate change. Think Nero!! Regards, Bruce

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