How to Insulate Old Homes

old terraced houses in London
(Image credit: getty images)

How do you insulate an older house to ensure not just warmth but that, by doing so, you’re not introducing more problems than you’re solving?

Imagine a 19th century, two storey cottage built with nine inch solid brick walls under a steeply pitched slate roof. A big dilemma is whether to go the conventional route or go with a ‘green’ alternative. Other issues include how to deal with condensation, and of course how to retain the most heat. It is a tricky problem and there is a great deal of conflicting information in circulation.

Tim Pullen

Tim is an expert in sustainable building methods and energy efficiency in residential homes and writes on the subject for magazines and national newspapers. He is the author of The Sustainable Building Bible, Simply Sustainable Homes and Anaerobic Digestion - Making Biogas - Making Energy: The Earthscan Expert Guide.

His interest in renewable energy and sustainability was first inspired by visits to the Royal Festival Hall heat pump and the Edmonton heat-from-waste projects. In 1979

this initial burst of enthusiasm lead to him trying (and failing) to build a biogas digester to convert pig manure into fuel, at a Kent oast-house, his first conversion project.

Moving in 2002 to a small-holding in South Wales, providing as it did access to a wider range of natural resources, fanned his enthusiasm for sustainability. He went on to install renewable technology at the property, including biomass boiler and wind turbine.

He formally ran energy efficiency consultancy WeatherWorks and was a speaker and expert at the Homebuilding & Renovating Shows across the country.