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Renewable Heritage – A Guide to Microgeneration in Traditional and Historic Homes

Date: 2009


The installation of microgeneration systems in residential properties has the potential to make an important contribution to reducing fossil fuel consumption and ensuring a sustainable fuel supply. However, this option may be challenging where the property is subject to strict rules governing modifications to its fabric. Historic buildings are often protected by legal directives or planning conventions such as conservation areas.

Nonetheless, as many such buildings are very inefficient as a result of factors such as their age and construction materials they are often expensive to heat. The gains to be made in terms of warmer and healthier residents and lower bills and energy use are considerable. Finding a way to sensitively install microgeneration systems while at the same time preserving the character and structure of historic buildings would open up this resource to thousands of homes.

Key research Question

The document aims to offer detailed guidance and support to those managing traditional and/or historic homes and considering microgeneration as a power source with a view to enabling them to make informed decisions on the different elements involved.

Summary of activity

The guidance provides an overview of the different types of microgeneration available (e.g. biomass, hydro and photovoltaic), with advice on the suitability of each type for different scenarios. Attention is given to practical considerations for each type, including the physical impact, cost and capacity. Information is included on the planning system, particularly the relevant permissions needed for different technologies, as well as available grants and relevant schemes such as the Feed-in Tariff and Renewables Obligation Certificates.

It includes an in-depth case study of the installation of solar water heating in traditional tenements in Edinburgh, with an analysis of the challenges and factors for success.


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