The recent drive to insulate and thermally upgrade the UK domestic housing stock has highlighted some significant issues of perception, expectation and intervention in design and delivery. In the case of older buildings their upgrade has long been thought of as technically challenging; The lack of familiarity with older structures, especially in the insulation sector, mean that there is little understanding of traditional structures, some conservation restrictions and the suitable measures available. Work by Historic Scotland, following many principles established in building conservation, has developed a suite of fabric interventions that seek to respect the original fabric both technically and aesthetically and that are suitable to protected or unprotected structures. These measures involve modest disruption, minimise waste and ensure that a healthy indoor environment is maintained for occupants. They also deliver realistic levels of thermal improvement and comfort.
With a building conservation contracting background Roger Curtis joined Historic Scotland in 2006, and is now responsible for managing the Technical Research Programme. While energy efficiency in traditional and historic buildings is a big focus, other work continues on traditional materials such as lime, lead stone and slate.