Smart Heritage Windows and Listed Buildings
Heritage buildings are beautiful and represent centuries of architectural history. However, they also come with their own set of problems. Heritage windows are designed to look like their original counterparts while meeting modern standards for energy efficiency. Smart heritage windows are a solution that provides the best of both worlds. Here are five ways smart heritage windows will improve your listed building.
What is a listed building?
A building or structure that has been designated as being of special architectural, historic, or cultural significance.
According to Historic England, Listed buildings are categorised as follows:
- Grade I buildings are of exceptional interest, only 2.5% of listed buildings are Grade I
- Grade II* buildings are particularly important buildings of more than special interest; 5.8% of listed buildings are Grade II*
- Grade II buildings are of special interest; 91.7% of all listed buildings are in this class and it is the most likely grade of listing for a home owner.
The National Heritage List for England (NHLE) is a record of all listed buildings in England. To find out if your property is listed just search The List.
What is a Heritage Window?
A heritage window is a window that is an attempt to replicate the appearance of a historic window. Most original heritage windows don’t always meet modern standards for energy efficiency. The best solution is to replace these windows with new ones that are more energy efficient and still look like their original counterparts.
5 Ways Smart Heritage Windows Will Improve Your Listed Building
1. Provide Energy Efficiency
Newer heritage windows can help reduce your energy bills. By using modern coated glass and advanced double glazing such as vacuum glazing, you could expect to keep your rooms warmer, your bills lower and get rid of condensation.
2. Improve Your Property Value
Heritage windows will increase the value of your property, as they make it easy to sell and rent. It’s important to make sure your windows are approved by your local planning authority. If you don’t have the proper permission to replace your windows in a listed building, you or the new owner will be forced to replace them and you could be fined (or face a prison sentance!).
3. Create a Better View
With smart heritage windows, you’ll still get the traditional appearance of your building while also getting modern benefits. You can have your windows designed to match the original aspect of your home, with sash windows or casements and window bars that create the effect of older windows.
4. Reduce Sound Transference
With double glazed units, sound transference is reduced, which makes for a quieter place to live or work. Again, vacuum glass is the best option for sound proofing, and specially treated glass is also available to improve noise reduction even further.
5. Reduce Maintenance
Heritage window frames are designed for durability that prevents wear and tear from regular use or extreme weather conditions causing damage. Modern timbers such as Accoya and Red Grandis are treated to enhance their performance. They are more resistant to water ingress and are less susceptible to expansion and contraction due to seasonal temperatures. This puts less strain on the paint or varnish and reduces the cracking and flaking that makes windows look tatty.
Modern Requirements for Energy Efficiency
One of the biggest problems with historical buildings is that they often lack in energy efficiency. The original builders or designers didn’t have the modern technology we have today to protect against thermal movement and heat transfer through windows. This can be an expensive problem for owners of listed buildings, especially considering that heating costs are only going to rise over time. One solution for this is to install smart heritage windows, which provide maximum thermal performance while still having the old-world charm of traditional heritage windows.
Vacuum double glazing is the smart solution
Vacuum double glazing is the smart solution for heritage buildings. It’s ultra-thin profile make it look like the traditional single glazed windows that would have been fitted to most listed building originally. It’s also much more energy-efficient than single panes of glass and even standard double glazing. This option provides the best of both worlds; it looks like old-fashioned windows while providing modern insulation.
Heritage Windows – Restore or Replace?
Because of their age, the windows in many Listed buildings are simply beyond repair. Specialist joiners can rescue even the most rotten of wooden frames, but it is not a perfect solution.
Most owners choose to replace their windows – although planning officers prefer to replace them, owners want comfortable homes without massive heating bills. Heritage windows made from modern materials are a great solution that keeps both camps happy.
Heritage windows are the answer
These windows look like original designs but provide better insulation and lower energy costs than traditional replacement windows. When deciding whether or not to replace your original windows with smart heritage ones, take these two factors into account: Energy Efficiency and will the planning officer give permission.
Energy efficiency is important because it will help you save money in the long run. Heritage buildings have a lot of character, but they are not very well insulated. But if you’re trying to reduce your energy bills without too much hassle, then replacing your older windows with smart heritage ones might be the way to go.
The planning officer has a job – to preserve the original aspect of Listed buildings as much as possible. Working with a window manufacturer with experience of dealing with planning authorities will save a lot of hassle. Note – choosing a company like us with experience of planning permission with listed buildings and dedicated product ranges does not guarantee that your application will be passed, but it will make the process a lot easier!
Companies such as Gowercroft have special ranges of heritage windows that have been approved by planning officers across the country. Some of our heritage windows have even won awards! Click here to see our range of smart heritage windows.
Read more about Heritage Windows in our comprehensive Guide to Replacing Windows in Listed Buildings