Briefing on sustainability

This week has seen the publication of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) Briefing: Energy efficiency in old buildings. You can download it here and I hope you find it interesting. As editor I’ve tried, through the words of some of the leading practitioners in the field, to bring clarity to the methods, materials and debate that will help ensure our historic buildings continue to be sustainable into the future.

Retrofitting old buildings to make them energy efficient is challenging – methods and materials are evolving and we’re learning all the time through ongoing research. The Briefing is one way of disseminating the knowledge that is being accumulated and it builds on Old House Eco Handbook, the book I co-authored with Marianne Suhr in association with the SPAB.

Over the past couple of days I’ve been in Birmingham leading a course on retrofitting historic buildings for the SPAB on behalf of Sustainable Building Futures with Coventry University. I hope the delegates – who were all involved in various areas of retrofit from contracting to specialising in solar systems and windows – went away with fresh knowledge that will help inform what they do. I know I came away with new insights, as I always do when I’m speaking on courses and at events, gained by meeting those who are on the retrofitting frontline.

As a writer and speaker I’m lucky that I can pass on this knowledge. On Monday, a blog I wrote for the National Trust was posted here and, on the same evening, my work as sustainability correspondent for Show House (a trade magazine for housebuilders and new homes industry suppliers) was recognised when I was awarded the title of Sustainable Property Journalist of the Year for the second year in a row at the LSL Property Press Awards.

Next week I’m back in Birmingham, this time speaking and giving advice at the Homebuilding & Renovating and National Home Improvement Shows at the NEC. I hope I might meet some of you there.

Image: Roger Hunt receives his Sustainable Property Journalist of the Year Award from Julia Somerville