What the road to net-zero means for some of Britain’s oldest buildings | UK news | Daily News Byte

What the road to net-zero means for some of Britain’s oldest buildings |  UK news

 | Daily News Byte


The National Trust says net-zero targets should not be “lost” amid the current cost of living and energy crisis.

The Trust, the UK’s largest heritage conservation charity, is renewing its ambition to reach net-zero by 2030.

Will Handford, the trust’s renewable energy program director, told Sky News it was “half way” on its own carbon reduction plan, and the energy crisis made these targets “incredibly relevant”.

“Things obviously energize people’s minds,” Mr Handford said.

“But it’s the same with us as in people’s homes: to reduce those costs, and to try and save costs, the thing is to first try and reduce energy use.

“It’s the same principle in any property, whatever its size: check loft insulation, curtains and double glazing.”

Will Handford, the Trust's Renewable Energy Program Director
Will Handford, the Trust’s Renewable Energy Program Director

The National Trust has worked on more than 130 renewable energy projects over the past nine years, reducing reliance on fossil fuels as well as establishing its own green energy supply.

Speke Hall, a 500-year-old Tudor mansion in Liverpool, has replaced its conventional heating system with the installation of a ground-source heat pump.

Speak Hall
Speak Hall

A pump installed in the basement of the property means the house is no longer dependent on oil or gas and the remaining electricity demand is supplied by energy from a nearby wind farm.

Simon Osborne, the property’s general manager, admits he “needed to be convinced” that 21st century technology would work in the historic building property, but says it is “significant”.

National Trust

“We have a duty to look after these old buildings, and now we can better control their climate, as well as reduce our dependence on fossil fuels,” Mr Osborne said.

“All of this technology is scalable – it’s a big system here because of the size of the property – but it’s exactly the same system that would be in a residential home.

“And if it works in a 500-year-old building, it can work anywhere.”

National Trust

The UK government, which has a 2050 net-zero target, has recognized that heat pumps will be a key technology to help reduce residential carbon footprints but admits that, at present, the units are currently too expensive.

In the short term, it wants to fund £1bn worth of home insulation projects as it aims to cut energy use by 15% by 2030.


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