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INSULATING a period home

Heritage properties don’t always offer the warmest living environment – but with the right approach, they can be made cosy and efficient without detracting from their character, says Alan Tierney
Loose fill cellulose can be poured onto a breathable membrane, in the gaps between joists, to insulate a suspended timber floor. Below left: This loft space has been treated at joist level using hemp batts – a hygroscopic, natural material. Note the eaves are clear of insulation in order to maintain good ventilation

The thermal performance of our homes is a matter of increasing importance for a number of reasons, in particular managing CO2 emissions, fuel costs, health and comfort. For different people, living in different types of property, the ideal balance between these priorities will vary – but all will need to be considered when developing an effective strategy to make improvements.

Another factor that must be taken into account is the health and condition of the building itself. For a heritage home this element is of particular importance, partly because of the need to protect its inherent cultural value and character. But this is also due to the fact old buildings are complex environments, sensitive to changes that may have serious unintended consequences.

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About Build It

Get the advice and inspiration you need to complete your home building project on time and on budget with the March edition of Build It, including: - How to get more for your money - Is gas central heating energy efficient? - Getting sunroom extensions right - Ultimate guide to garage conversions - Do you need an architect? ... and more!