What did you miss?

Posted by Neil Harrison on 19th November 2016

Home Energy Scotland recently ran two very successful events for people who live in older properties to discuss how these homes can become more energy efficient.  For those who were not able to make it to either event, here is what was covered.

Keeping your home warm and your bills down at this time of year is hard and it’s even more difficult if you live in an older less energy efficient property. The Home Energy Scotland team recently held some events in Edinburgh called “Restore warmth to your historical home”. The events were developed in response to customer demand for more help and advice for historical buildings that are harder to heat or have planning restrictions; like properties in conservation areas or listed buildings. The event brought together a number of experts giving information and advice on how to reduce heat loss. Topics discussed included upgrading and replacing windows, installing wall insulation, managing the heat in your room and reducing draughts.

Dr Alex Hilliam from Changeworks was one of the experts speaking at the event. He talked about the changes in heating of historical buildings from past to present and how these changes have influenced fashions, trends and how we use our homes today.

Heating technologies have changed with open fires being replaced by electric ones or central heating systems, but some of our habits of staying warm haven’t, we still enjoy cosying up to the heat source and warming our feet!


The wing back chair is an example of function becoming fashion, placed in front of the open fire, the design of the chair helps to retain the heat from the source and reduce draughts around the head from the rest of the room to help you to feel warmer.

So how does this help us stay warm in historical properties today? Alex said “Older properties don’t work like modern open plan super-insulated buildings, you need to need to manage the heat and make sure it goes into the room where you need it, not try and warm the whole space. Think about where you lose the heat in your home and where you want heat. That way you can manage it without wasting energy.

Some simple things you can do is reduce draughts by closing curtains or shutters at night, turning down thermostat valves on radiators in rooms that aren’t used to make sure the heat from your central heating goes into the rooms you need, installing draught proofing and using chimney balloons to reduce unnecessary draughts. Home Energy Scotland will be able to advise further and provide tailored information for your home, so give them a call on how best to manage the heat in your home on  0808 808 2282.”

Other speakers at the event included Historic Environment Scotland and City of Edinburgh Council Planning Department, giving information on the infrastucture of properties and planning regulations. Ewan Fisher, the Technical Manager at Home Energy Scotland, South East explained the support available from the team, including the home visit service and the funding available.

Here is one of the questions asked to the panel and their response.

Q. Is it a good idea to have radiators placed under windows?

A: If radiators are located below windows there is a risk that heat will escape out the window which is why it's not recommended. The reason why radiators used to be placed below the windows is so draughts from the window would spread the heat through the room. By avoiding putting radiators under the window you can reduce heat loss as you can close the curtains or shutters without blocking the heat from the radiators. You can also install a radiator fan to spread the heat through the room.

If you live in a historical home and need help to heat it contact Home Energy Scotland  on 0808 808 2282.

Dr Alex Hilliam is an expert in behaviour change and works for Changeworks