Historic England to create energy benchmarks for heritage buildings

Historic England is carrying out detailed surveys of its estate

Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings Historic England

Historic England is helping to restore the Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings

Historic England has teamed up with Cardiff University to produce energy benchmarks for heritage buildings. Caroline Cattini, FCIBSE, senior engineer and energy manager at Historic England, said the organisation started benchmarking its estate in 2006.

But this benchmarking focused on the construction and original use of buildings, which ‘wasn’t useful because, while the construction is the same, the activities and the building services in them are very different,’ she said. Historic England recognised that energy demand varied significantly depending on the activity type.

‘Even with museums, energy use was very different depending on the collection,’ said Cattini.

Professor Ian Knight, from Cardiff University, has found the age and fabric of buildings may have little impact on energy use, compared with the occupants and activities held inside.

To create the benchmarks, Historic England has been carrying out detailed surveys of its buildings to assess whether the energy consumed falls within acceptable ranges. Its next steps will be establishing links between weather and energy use, and it plans to install its own weather stations and internal temperature monitoring to understand how localised weather has an impact on energy use.

Historic England plans to look beyond its estate at other historic buildings with similar activities.