Updating and improving heritage buildings can be a tricky process. Installing solar energy panels on historic builds is a relatively new idea. Churches all over England are using this technique — and with good reason.
Read on to find out about traditional roof construction details and why solar energy efficiency is a real possibility for listed buildings.
The relationship between heritage buildings and insulation is notoriously complex. This is because “altering the thermal performance of an older building” risks creating condensation between the layers of building fabric referred to as “interstitial condensation.” Assessing the characteristics of a building will give you a better idea of a suitable solution for the structure.
Historic homes advisor Robert Lloyd-Sweet warns energy waste is common in old buildings as they were designed for one room to be heated at a time. Most heritage buildings lose heat through their roof. There is no one-size-fits-all plan for preserving heritage homes, yet considering solar power could be part of your maintenance strategy.
Preservation and sustainability are key issues that have dominated conversations among professionals. As a complex and constantly evolving field, the practice of installing solar panels on heritage buildings is becoming commonplace as part of few roof design plans that are being tested. And although it might not have crossed your mind as an option, it is possible to get permission for solar panel installation on listed buildings.
Kaid Benfield’s lengthy discussion on the topic provides a worthwhile viewpoint. Benfield expresses that solar panels can be a good alternative for heritage buildings. But, only if they mesh with the “architectural character” of the building. Maintaining architectural integrity is of utmost importance when dealing with preservation work.
Solar panel saving statistics prove panels can retain heat and help with insulation. Heat is preserved and stored for use in the colder months. To reduce a costly heating bill – inevitable on a large, heritage building – solar panels can keep a building’s roof five degrees Fahrenheit cooler. This is because they act as shade during the day and conserve energy for when it is most needed.
There are a few staggering examples of how historic buildings can benefit from solar power. Projects like an 11th Century Cathedral show the potential of these types of projects. Reverend Canon Celia Thompson praises the development, commenting “It is great to see the juxtaposition between the old and new at the Cathedral.”
The transformation of a Victorian steam-era railway bridge into the world’s largest solar bridge is also symbolic for the movement.
In their report on the topic, Historic England concludes that a “balance needs to be achieved between generating your own energy and avoiding damage both to the significance of the building and its fabric”. As a Heritage Certified company, Ploughcroft understands traditional roof construction details. We have worked on projects funded by both English Heritage and The National Trust to preserve prestigious buildings.
Our roof replacement portfolio is a great example of the British Roofing Standards that we adhere to. Our projects are also fully protected with our 10-year insurance guarantee. Our expertise in the roofing industry means we can easily assess the suitability of your property.
Consider following the footsteps of countless others by embracing energy efficient methods to preserve your heritage building. Get a free quote from us today.