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Listed buildings go green

How can owners and occupiers of listed buildings reduce energy use and protect vital heritage? An innovative new partnership project managed by Bath and West Community Energy (BWCE) is helping to dispel the myth that you can’t make listed buildings more efficient. 

The Green Heritage Homes project, a collaboration between BWCE, Bath & North East Somerset Council, Bath Preservation Trust, Centre for Sustainable Energy and People Powered Retrofit, aims to improve understanding of how heritage conservation principles can be aligned with improved energy efficiency to help people make their homes warmer, greener, and cheaper to heat. 

Through the new project, conservation and energy professionals will provide low-cost, high-quality energy efficiency and carbon saving advice for listed building owners and occupiers through home visits, events, and online resources. Specialist support will also be available for building professionals. 

Earlier this month the project hosted a webinar attended by over 100 local homeowners, covering topics such as listed building consent, how the historic significance of a building is assessed when considering energy measures, and the retrofit services offered by BWCE. This was the first in a series of planned events which includes an upcoming webinar for landlords. 

The project is also recruiting ‘Listing Building Champions’ who will receive conservation and retrofit guidance from Bath and North East Somerset Council and BWCE at a discounted rate, in exchange for inspiring others by sharing their energy efficiency journey. 

Another innovation is the recent launch by project partner Bath and North East Somerset Council of a Level 0 pre-application advice service that allows owners and occupiers of listed buildings to discuss possible measures with a conservation officer at the initial stages of a potential retrofit project.  

BWCE was one of six successful applicants in the South West to be awarded government funding until March 2025 to run pilot projects exploring innovative approaches to provide in-person home energy advice. The pilots are part of the national Local Energy Advice Demonstrator (LEAD) programme funded by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero and managed by the South West Net Zero Hub. 

Sara Grimes, Head of Community Business Development, Bath & West Community Energy said, 

“It’s important to dispel the myth that you can’t make listed buildings more efficient. Our service allows building owners to receive energy expertise and guidance from a Conservation Officer, meaning they can confidently move forward with an efficiency plan that is sound from an energy and a heritage perspective.” 

Steve Ransom, South West Net Zero Hub Manager, said: 

“We were pleased to be able to award funding on behalf of the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero for this project. BWCE have a strong track record for delivery and Bath and North East Somerset Council have been proactive in their approach to planning, energy efficiency and the upgrade of historic buildings for some time. We look forward to seeing the learning from this project” 

To find out more about Green Heritage Homes visit: www.bwce.coop/green-heritage-homes or email info@bwce.coop