There is an urgent need to introduce well considered guidelines in the short term and European Standards in the long term on understanding and improving energy efficiency in heritage and traditional buildings. The building stock of any nation is not only important from a cultural heritage point of view but is also an invaluable sustainable resource of embedded energy. Protection is required from unnecessary intervention when considering energy efficiency in order to safeguard both environmental and heritage values.
We believe that the original and now revised "Directive 2010/31/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19th May 2010" on the energy performance of buildings is flawed when applied to historic and traditional buildings. The fact that most heritage assets are exempted actually increases the risk to those buildings mainly due to lack of understanding of historic buildings.
Regardless of any exemptions or derogations that may exist for historic buildings in different countries of the EU, fuel poverty and a desire for improved living conditions mean that owners will still want to upgrade the energy performance of their historic buildings. It is essential that they are supported, by legislation and guidance, in using the correct methods and materials and are not led into making inappropriate interventions which would damage architectural heritage and accelerate decay of older and traditional buildings. With this in mind our working group puts forward the following proposal.
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