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A retrofitting revolution

How period homes can finally rival new builds for thermal efficiency

Period properties and listed buildings are the homes dreams are made of – but while wonky doors and howling chimneys create the character and charm we fall in love with, they come at a cost.

Houses built before the Second World War – that’s around half of Britain’s 27m homes – lose heat five times faster than modern properties. While this was less of a problem 20 years ago, when cheap energy from coal, gas and North Sea oil made heating more cost-effective than insulation, the reality today is that your dream home could land you with sky-high heating bills.

While heavy curtains, draught proofing and loft insulation all help to improve a building’s energy efficiency, older properties weren’t designed or built with heat loss in mind – and, unlike modern buildings, they don’t contain any features to protect against it.

But it is possible to bring an older building’s thermal efficiency up to modern standards without compromising on the look or feel of the property.

Time for a revolution

Insulating Britain’s pre-war homes in a ‘retrofitting revolution’ would cut the nation’s carbon footprint by 10%, reduce heat loss by 80% and allow us to enjoy our dream homes without forking out a small fortune to heat them.

CosyHome Company was set up in 2010 to provide a comprehensive insulation service for owners of properties that are over 100 years old. It can top up loft insulation, install secondary glazing and draught proof a home, reducing the overall heat loss by 30-40 percent.

‘Fuel bills have roughly trebled in the last 10 years’, explains Mukti Mitchell, director of CosyHome Company, ‘so dealing with these three areas of insulation can give you a really good return on investment. If you invest money in insulating your home you are not only warmer and more comfortable, you can get anywhere between a 10 and 25 percent return on your investment.’

Click here to find out why CosyHome Company’s CosyGlazing is a Hero

‘Around 10 percent of heat goes out through the loft, about 20 percent through the glass and
30 percent through draughts, which I think of as the low-hanging fruit of insulation. This equates to 60 percent of heat loss in a home that is quite easy to address.’

Director of CosyHome Company

A new secondary glazing

CosyHome Company has developed CosyGlazing, its own specialised secondary glazing system, which is made from plexiglass – the same material used for aeroplane windows. It’s similar to perspex, but with a 30-year guarantee against UV damage. It’s also a much better insulator than glass, much lighter and can’t shatter or break.

The plexiglass panels are fitted to the opening sash or casement using magnetic strips. Unlike traditional secondary glazing – which can involve ugly metal frames and sliding panels of glass – they’re virtually invisible and allow the windows to open as normal.

While it’s always best to check, most conservation officers don’t require listed building consent for anything that is reversible or invisible from the outside.

The CosyGlazing system can reduce heat loss through the glass by 70 percent, and offers fantastic sound proofing as an added bonus. So while you might want to make a song and dance about how you’re slashing your fuel bills and helping to tackle climate change, no one on the outside will be able to see – or hear – what all the fuss is about.

Click here for more on CosyHome Company and its insulation services, including CosyGlazing.

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