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AC07 - Synergy of Fabric and Energy conservation in older historic properties

Written by: CIC Start Online

“Synergy of Fabric and Energy conservation in older historic properties” by Edinburgh Napier University and the Morrison Partnership


It is vital that older properties and current stock buildings in Scotland are analysed and refurbished adequately to increase its thermal response, increase thermal comfort, reduce fuel poverty and reduce carbon emissions. By doing so the tough targets imposed by the Scottish and UK governments can be partially met and while doing so increase the life line of our existing stock of buildings.

The Academic consultancy conducted in collaboration with The Morison Partnership, architects and CDM Co-ordinators, has taken a 19th Century two storey mansion house in Alyth, Blairgowrie as a case study in which fabric interventions and energy efficient alternatives were tested, all of which were taken into consideration in later architectural solutions and specifications.

The work included the creation of a dynamic thermal simulation model of the two storey house in its current form which latterly, per the architect's original specifications and some in house alternatives, was enhanced and evaluated to create an expected energy outline and cost savings. The objective was to create a series of alternatives that would potentially reduce the thermal transmittance of the elements and hence reduce the energy demand of the buildings water & space heating technology.

The simulation permitted such study to test various alternatives related to; wall, roof void, and floor insulation types and quantities coupled with alternatives in window type and performance. With these solutions and alternatives it was possible to reduce the air infiltration of the building making it air tight without compromising on indoor air quality or creating moisture irregularities in the original fabric.

The results of the fabric intervention indicated expected energy consumption patterns (in accordance to actual energy bills and usage) which were then implemented to create small renewable energy alternatives by adequately sizing the systems and therefore providing a more realistic approach to new technology for sourcing green energy.

The conclusions derived from this study have been vital to appropriately specifying materials and procedures in the refurbishment of the house which will in the long run be beneficial to the owners, by paying less energy and paying back their investment, and also to the environment by reducing the ecological footprint of the property and its users.

Key words: pre-1919 building, refurbishment, traditional buildings, dynamic simulation 


Julio Bros-Williamson, Edinburg Napier University

Dr. Cameron Purdie, The Morrison Partnership


Held on 10th November 2011

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