The UK has the oldest housing stock in Europe, but to ensure these pieces of our history remain, we need to make them sustainable and efficient.

Martin Godfrey Cook has some simple and low cost measures to help you improve the efficiency and comfort of your home.

1. Heating

Take better control of the temperature and time controls in your house. Turning the thermostat down by 1°C can save you 10 percent on heating bills, without affecting comfort.

You can also take a tip from the National Trust, who heat to 5°C above the outside temperature to achieve optimal humidity. This helps preserve artefacts, but doing it in your home means you use a third of the energy you may have required before.

This temperature will only really suit unoccupied rooms, so use thermostats for the rooms you use to maintain a comfortable temperature.

2. Insulation

The roof is the best place to start with insulation in old homes. Sheep’s wool is a great natural insulator, as it absorbs moisture in wet periods and allows it to evaporate in dry spells. This works well with a historic building’s fabric, allowing it to breathe.

3. Windows and Doors

Draughtproofing doors with draught stripping helps block draughts and allows for expansion of the wood in wet seasons. A moveable fabric draught excluder can also be used.

You can get good wooden period windows with double glazing, but these can be expensive. If you want to retain original windows and save money, removable secondary glazing is going to be your best option.

4. Lighting

Low energy light bulbs are inexpensive, easy to install and non-intrusive.

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