Heritage and the Climate Crisis: July and August 2022 News

A bumper edition of the news and publication highlights relating to Heritage and the Climate Crisis from across the months of July and August.

News from Heritage Declares

Recording of Heritage Declares Webinar: Heritage, Demolition and Embodied Carbon

In the month of July, we hosted our first webinar: Heritage, Demolition and Embodied Carbon. Thank you to all those who attended. If you want to catch up here is the webinar recording.

To find out more about the recent developments in the M&S case refer to the press release by SAVE and please consider donating to their Just Giving Page to help fund the campaign.

Other news from Heritage Declares

Our next meeting is being held Thursday 8th September at 5pm-6pm, join through the link here. We’d love to see more people!

We are also still looking for submissions for our Case Studies page on the website, thank you for all the submissions so far! If you have any case studies you’d like to send us, please email us here.

Demolition of Non-Designated Heritage Asset Approved by City of York Council

Bluebeck House and semidetached cottages (site outlined in green. (Image: rightmove.co.uk)

The demolition of Bluebeck House, formerly the laundry serving York’s Clifton Hospital, as well as two semi detached cottages, and their replacement with a 72 bed care home has been approved by City of York Council.

Developers Torsion Care have had their scheme approved despite the structures being the last remnants of the buildings associated with the already demolished Clifton Hospital. The Committee Report on the application acknowledges that Bluebeck House is on a draft Local List held by York Civic Trust, and is considered to be a non-designated heritage asset. However it asserts that the List can be given no statutory weight as it has not been approved by the Council. Conversely, though the project represents “inappropriate development in the Green Belt” , the intention of the draft Local Plan is to remove the site from the Green Belt, and thus the Report can allow a special circumstance (as per paragraph 147 of the NPPF) to apply, outweighing any “inappropriateness.”

Further justification for demolition hinges upon the difficulty of achieving the required carbon savings through energy efficiency whilst maintaining a “historic building.” However, throughout the planning documents no consideration has been given to the carbon embodied in the existing building or to an assessment of the replacement building’s environmental performance.

More department stores in England may be given protected status

Sheffield’s former John Lewis and Cole Brothers building was given Grade-II listed status earlier this month. Photograph: Nick Cockman/Alamy

Historic England announces review of landmark buildings amid closures as campaigners call for ‘creative reinvention’. The announcement from Historic England comes amid widespread closures, compounded by the pandemic, economic turmoil and the rise of online shopping. This news comes after Historic England listed the Sheffield YRM-designed John Lewis store earlier this year.

Court orders UK government to explain how net zero policies will reach targets.

Image: Matthias Heyde

Following a successful legal challenge brought by individual litigant Joanna Wheatley, the Good Law ProjectClient Earth and Friends of the Earth, The Hon. Mr Justice Holgate determined in the High Court on 18th July 2022 that the UK government’s Net Zero Strategy (NZS) did not meet the requirements of the Climate Change Act (CCA) 2008.

The CCA sets the target for the reduction of greenhouse gases by 2050 and was amended in 2019 to ensure that the net UK carbon account for the year 2050 is at least 100% lower than the 1990 baseline. The Net Zero Strategy was presented to Parliament in October 2019 (just ahead of COP 26) to fulfil Section 14 of the CCA: the government’s “duty  to report on proposals and policies for meeting carbon budgets.”

Friends of the Earth have provided a briefing on the judgement. In summary, three grounds of challenge were pursued in relation the CCA. Mr Justice Holgate allowed the claim for judicial review on two of them, finding that the NZS would only achieve up to 95% of the reductions required to meet the sixth carbon budget and that this information was not included in the NZS presented to Parliament. Furthermore, the risk to delivery of even 95% of the required carbon reductions had not been considered by the Minister signing off the report.

The High Court has ruled that the government must submit a report that is compliant with Section 14 of the CCA by 31st March 2023 and sets down criteria which must be included in future Section14 reports.

Architects’ Journal Retrofit Live

AJ Retrofit Live, taking place on 23rd November 2022 at 155 Bishopsgate EC2, is a brand-new event centred around the Architects’ Journal’s well-established awards programme and RetroFirst Campaign.

The AJ Retrofit Awards were established in 2010 and are the only awards focusing on retrofit design. The AJ RetroFirst campaign, prioritising retrofit over demolition and rebuild as well as calling for system change and political reform,  has changed the conversation about demolition and reuse of existing buildings since its launch in 2019.

This subject matter will be brought to life at Retrofit Live on November 23. This unique event will bring together architects, their built environment colleagues, developers, clients and lawmakers to identify the best retrofit and circular economy practices and discuss the transformational changes needed to upgrade the built environment in line with whole-life carbon principles.

The packed programme includes, amongst other topics, a panel discussion around retrofitting the UK’s housing stock, a presentation on The Joy of Retrofitting and a panel discussion entitled Breathing New Life into Historic Buildings. Retrofit Live will also feature a thriving exhibition area that complements these key messages and showcases cutting-edge solutions to support retrofit over demolition and replacement.

Book now to reserve your place and be part of a day of inspiration and collaboration.

Plastics, Sustainability and Systems: One Bin to Rule Them All

Wednesday 7 September  2022.11am – 12:30pm BST

Join ICON as Professor Mike Shaver, Director of Sustainable Futures, University of Manchester, takes us on an exploration of the complex nature of our plastic environment and how, by improving the sustainable fates of plastics from reuse to recycling and creating new monomers for degradable polymers, polymer chemistry has the opportunity to shape a new sustainable future.

Book here: https://www.icon.org.uk/events/environmental-sustainability-network-plastics-sustainability-and-systems.html

New CIBSE Committee to focus on retrofit in heritage buildings

CIBSE is launching a new committee dedicated to focusing retrofit in heritage buildings. As part of this launch they are running a series of webinars, with the first starting in September. Click here to find out more.

AJ Climate Champions podcast: Bob Prewett explains why Passivhaus is often too much for heritage buildings

Bob Prewett of Prewett Bizley architects shares a podcast discussing why passivhaus standards are not always suitable for heritage buildings.

Conservation Charities & Agencies combine forces to tackle the impact of climate change on the UK’s heritage

Seven UK organisations have announced a new partnership to help tackle the impact of climate change on historical sites and our cultural heritage, and to share expertise. The article provides an interesting read into the aims the partnership is working towards and the reasons why.

Any thoughts?

Have you got any thoughts on the June News on Heritage and the Climate Crisis? Or suggestions for the September post? Leave them in the comments below or tweet us @HeritageDecl

Heritage and the Climate Crisis: June 2022 News

News and publication highlights relating to Heritage and the Climate Crisis from across the month of June with some highlights of upcoming events, including Heritage Declare’s first webinar on Friday 15th.

News from Heritage Declares

Heritage Declares Webinar: Heritage, Demolition and Embodied Carbon, 15th July, 12:30pm- 1:30pm. Sign up here.

This Friday, we are hosting our first webinar: Heritage, Demolition and Embodied Carbon. We currently have over 160 people signed up so big thank you to everyone who has already signed up! If you’d also like to join, use the link above to register and to find more info on the session please see here.

Other news from Heritage Declares

Our next meeting is being held Thursday 14th July at 5pm-6pm, join through the link here. We’d love to see more people!

We are also still looking for submissions for our Case Studies page on the website, thank you for all the submissions so far! If you have any case studies you’d like to send us, please email us here.

The Role of Historic Buildings in Getting to Net Zero – Webinar Thursday 14th July 2022, 12-2pm 

The Role of Historic Buildings in Getting to Net Zero - Webinar

Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/cc/summer-autumn-2022-programme-392149 

The Historic Towns and Villages Forum are hosting a webinar this Thursday looking at the measures that councils, developers and design teams can adopt to mitigate climate change.

Speakers on Thursday 14th July 2022:

  • Welcome and Introduction, Louise Thomas, HTVF Director
  • You’ve declared a Climate Emergency… what next? Chris Pountney, Associate, Arup
  • How sustainability benefits can deliver heritage benefits, Emma Sharp, Heritage Planning Associate Director, Stantec (previously Barton Willmore)
  • Lessons Learned from the Retrofitting of Historic Buildings at Trinity Court, Cambridge, Oliver Smith, Director, 5th Studio

Work to demolish ‘iconic’ art deco house in North Wales gets underway.

57 Marine Drive, Rhos on Sea. (©Image Moxette, Flickr)

The Daily Post reports that a planning application for the demolition of an Art Deco house at Rhos on Sea and its replacement with an apartment block has been approved despite it being considered a non-designated heritage asset by the Bay of Colwyn Town Council, Historic Buildings and Places and The Twentieth Century Society. The consultation response from Conwy’s conservation officer  points to the importance of this Art Deco building whilst also stating that “it would be preferable if it could be reused rather than demolished, especially in our current climate emergency.”

An attempt to have the building protected from demolition by listing was unsuccessful, though CADW, in their recommendations, acknowledge that the building is a part of the twentieth century history of Rhos on Sea and the Conwy Coastline.

Though the design and access statement produced by JAR Architects to support the planning application claims that a “holistically sustainable strategy” has been used to inform the development, no mention of the embodied carbon – of either the building to be demolished or its replacement – was made.

Ultimately the demolition of an existing building and its replacement with a new building is supported by National and Local Planning Policy, therefore, despite the conservation officers reservation’s to the development on both heritage grounds and in terms of the climate emergency, demolition is now underway.

Resilience of buildings to challenges associated with climate change: report

Commissioned by the Welsh Government, this report by Prof Carolyn Hayles of Cardiff Metropolitan University aims to identify the climate change vulnerabilities specific to the Welsh built environment and provide practical recommendations for risk-based adaptation. It does so through drawing on wider UK and international research and as such is applicable to an audience beyond Welsh borders. It calls for the development of holistic climate change policies that ensure adaptation has equal footing with mitigation, and the interconnected nature of the two are fully understood. Click here to view the report.

Development threat for Edinburgh’s Category A listed Scottish Widows HQ

An aerial view of the site from above Dalkeith Road (Image C20society.org)

The C20 society strongly objects to the proposed residential redevelopment of 15 Dalkeith Road. Built in 1972-76 by the practice of Sir Basil Spence, Glover and Fergusson and winning a RIBA Award for Scotland in 1977 the building is now category A listed. It was vacated by Scottish Widows in 2020 and the building’s owners, Schroders Capital, are seeking to redevelop the site, demolishing much of the existing building to “free up land for residential development.”

The plans are outlined on a public consultation website that invites comments to be submitted prior to a planning application being made in August 2022.

The C20 Society object to the developer’s desire to demolish almost half of the buildings, replace the  remaining brown solar glass and bronze mullioned façade with a proprietary aluminium curtain wall system as well as the removal of the undercroft car park and boiler house which will result in the loss of much of the Sylvia Crowe designed landscape.

The consultation document points to the building’s poor environmental performance as a need for redevelopment stating that the zinc covered roof and elements of the façade are at the end of their ‘serviceable life.’ The C20 Society, on the other hand, are “concerned that the retain and upgrade option has been too quickly dismissed.”

Though the proposal aspires to create an exemplar of net zero carbon environmental performance, “minimising the project’s carbon footprint both in construction and during operation,” no consideration of the embodied carbon of the elements of the building to be demolished, or of the new construction, has yet appeared on any side of the debate about the future of the site

Energy Efficiency and Historic Buildings: Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) Case Studies

Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) are the Government’s legislated rating scheme to summarise and report energy performance of buildings. The domestic and non-domestic sectors use different methods in order to assess the energy efficiency of buildings. 

This report underlines the deficiencies of the current Energy Performance Certificates and associated calculation methodology, with a specific emphasis on those problems faced by historic and traditionally constructed properties.

Click here to read the report.

Designing for the Climate Emergency: A Guide for Architecture Students

The authors, from the UK, Denmark and Finland declare a climate emergency and that architects must be part of the radical change needed in response, underlining that design choices “we make affect people and communities thousands of miles away.”

The book tackles what the authors see as the quadruple challenges of the climate emergency: adapting to and mitigating climate change, creating restorative designs and improving climate justice. Reflecting architecture students’ years of study, six chapters focus on the climate emergency at each stage of the design process. 200 case studies have been selected that demonstrate high quality climate emergency design: projects that offer learning and inspiration are available on www.arch4change.com.

Designing for the Climate Emergency is available from RIBA Publishing, Routledge and Taylor & Francis Group

City of London sets out new planning guidance to tackle embodied carbon

140 Leadenhall Street (©Image Computer Consultant, Flickr)

The Architect’s Journal reports that The City of London Corporation (CoL) has begun  consultation to tackle the assessment of whole lifecycle carbon for all new major projects.

The Whole Lifecycle Carbon Optioneering planning advice note (PAN), produced by Hilson Moran, sets out how  proposals for new development must undertake an ‘optioneering’ exercise considering refurbishment and retention of fabric as well as more substantial development including demolition. Within the square mile, 76% of planning applications fall under the City’s definition of major development and it is these that are the focus of this PAN. A Whole Life Cycle Assessment (WLCA), using a standard methodology, will be required that considers different options (of varying degrees of intervention) in the commercial built environment to enable consistent evaluation by CoL and an informed discussion between them and the applicant.

Simon Sturgis, of Targeting Zero, is quoted by the Architect’s Journal as welcoming the PAN, though keen to point out that “the City must ensure that have planning officers suitably trained to review whole-life carbon submissions [and] take meaningful action to properly deliver on their carbon commitments.”

The six week consultation on the draft PAN began in mid June and comments arising will be returned to the planning and transport committee in the autumn. The note will then be incorporated into the Sustainability Supplementary Planning Document.

Any thoughts?

Have you got any thoughts on the June News on Heritage and the Climate Crisis? Or suggestions for the July post? Leave them in the comments below or tweet us @HeritageDecl

Upcoming Webinar: ‘Heritage, Demolition and Embodied Carbon’

15th July 12:30-13:30pm on Zoom- Click here to sign up

Sparked by the recent emblematic case of the M&S Oxford Street store, Heritage Declares and the Welsh School of Architecture invite you to a live webinar on the subject of Heritage, Demolition and Embodied Carbon, with contributions from:

  • Henrietta Billings- Director of SAVE Britain’s Heritage, who commissioned the report on the M&S Oxford Street store
  • Julie Godefroy- Sustainability Consultant, CIBSE Head of Sustainability
  • Chris Cummings- Savills Head of Technical Sustainability, Sustainable Design & Director of “Savills Earth”

The session will be chaired by Heritage Declares coordinator and Course leader of the MSc in Sustainable Building Conservation, Dr Chris Whitman, with support from fellow Heritage Declares coordinators.

Sign up to the webinar here.

Grosvenor Estate cottages, Cheshire: a benchmark project for heritage retrofit

Grosvenor Estate cottages, Cheshire: a benchmark project for heritage retrofit, a project case study with signatory Donald Insalls Associates.

The climate emergency demands that the UK and other major economies make a very rapid transition to net zero carbon emissions. Improving the energy performance of Britain’s existing housing infrastructure is a crucial step towards that goal. The Government’s declared aim is to get all British homes up to Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) Band C by 2035. With less than 30% currently at the target level, that’s a tall order; and many doubt whether it can be met without devastating effects on the significance of the nation’s historic housing stock.

This benchmark project by Heritage Declares signatories Donald Insall Associates, in collaboration with major landowners The Grosvenor Estate, will help to provide an objective answer to these questions. A Grosvenor-owned property on a rural estate in Cheshire, comprising a pair of red-brick semi-detached cottages built in 1896, is being used as the test-bed for a ‘whole house’ approach to sustainability-led retrofit – one that takes into account not just building fabric but also services and occupant behaviour, and that gives due weight to embodied energy and the environmental costs of manufacture, transport and waste.

A preliminary desktop research phase having been completed, the project team are now conducting air pressure tests and thermal imaging scans to determine how the building performs in its unaltered state. A variety of heating and insulation strategies will then be tested and assessed. The aim is to develop a viable and repeatable best-practice approach to retrofit that adds value in terms of reduced energy bills, and that can be implemented by Estate staff without the need for specialist consultants. A design guide for similar projects will also be prepared, along with a ‘user manual’ for tenants. Insalls hope that the results of the study will ‘challenge the current assumption that traditional buildings will always have a low value EPC’, and will thus help address ‘a clear danger to the viability of historic buildings’.

For more information on the project please read the project profile here. Find more about the work of Donald Insalls Associates on their website.

Want your project on our website? Please send us your case studies and you can feature on our website, newsletter and social media. Send us an email. See our other case studies here.

Heritage and the Climate Crisis: April 2022 News

News and publication highlights relating to Heritage and the Climate Crisis from across the month of April.

Across the month of April, the M&S store has been hitting headlines yet again as the project was given the go ahead to yet again by stalled. There has also been some great news of listings and successful funding, as well as the publication of our latest Case Study.

News from Heritage Declares

Our next meeting is being held Thursday 12th May at 5pm-6pm, join through the link here. We’d love to see more people!

We are also starting to update our Case Studies page on the website, thank you for all the submissions so far! If you have any case studies you’d like to send us, please email us here.

This month, volunteer coordinators David Garrard and Emma Healey also delivered a talk on Heritage Declares in the context of the climate crisis to a group of University of York masters students which was a success. If you’d be interested in having a Heritage Declares talk on your university course or as a company CPD session, please email us here. We’d love to spread our message!

M&S Oxford St demolition halted

The latest in the M&S store saga is Communities Secretary Michael Gove has blocked Pilbrow & Partners’ plans to demolish and rebuild Marks & Spencer flagship Oxford Street store so his department can examine the scheme. This came just days after London Mayor Sadiq Khan decided that the project could proceed despite concerns over the loss of embodied carbon. Read more about the halting of the scheme here.

If you want to know more about the background of the M&S building and why the controversial scheme appears to be causing so much controversy amongst politicians, read this useful summary in the Architect’s Journal.

Iraq’s cultural and natural heritage is being impacted by climate change

The minaret of the Great Mosque of Samarra is being eroded by sandstorms. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Rising concentrations of salts in groundwater and more frequent sandstorms, both caused by climate change, are having significant impacts upon historic buildings in Iraq. As this article explains: Salt crystallization is having a detrimental effect upon the remains of Babylon’s palaces. The spiral minaret of the Great Mosque of Samarra is being eroded by sandstorms whilst sites such as Umm al-Aqarib with its White Temple, palace and cemetery are being swallowed up by the desert. The Sawa Lake, once known as the Pearl of the South, has dried up and it is feared the exposed ground will become another source of sandstorms.

Heritage Declares Case Study: Low Carbon Adaptation of Agricultural Buildings in West Dorset

Photo credit: James Verner

Heritage Declares signatory and volunteer, James Verner, has designed the adaptation of two unused, adjacent agricultural barns on a farmstead in West Dorset for reuse as a single residential dwelling with office space and a space for social gatherings.

The aim of the project was to provide a viable use for two redundant agricultural buildings with the minimum embodied and operational carbon emissions. Find out more about the project here.

Places of Worship and the Climate Crisis

This month saw a successful #HeritageChat take place on Twitter on the topic of Places Of Worship. One issue addressed was how places of worship can combat the climate crisis . In light of this, we’d like to share a few resources that were showcased in the chat.

Firstly the Fundraising for Net Zero Carbon and the Environment page on the Church of England’s website. This has lots of helpful resources on how to get started with funding for Net Zero Carbon projects.

Secondly is the Church of England guide to Solar Panels which helps to guide whether solar panels are a good option and how to assess them within the planning balance.

SAVE Press Release: Departing Stores, Emporia at Risk

SAVE’s new report written by Harriet Lloyd sheds light on crisis facing Britain’s beautiful department stores. With the change of shopping patterns, combined with closures fueled by the pandemic many of our large ‘cathedrals of commerce’ are facing closure and many stand empty, facing threats of demolition. The SAVE report calls for a change in mindset and emphasises the need to rethink these spaces, rescuing and reinventing them for the 21st century. Read more on the report here.

Has demolition and replacement had its day?

Perhaps an understanding of embodied carbon is encouraging property developers to think twice before deciding to: ‘knock it down and start again.’

The Green Building Council calculates that the construction of buildings is responsible for 11% of global energy related carbon emissions. As operational emissions decrease due to better energy efficiency and grid decarbonisation, the emissions required to erect buildings is coming into sharper focus.

As well as the adaptive reuse of heritage buildings – such as an London ice factory being refitted for mixed use office/retail space – property owners are increasingly keen to demonstrate their environmental credentials to prospective tenants. Read more here.

Temple Works Egyptian-style landmark mill in Leeds gets £1m boost 

Historic illustration of the roof of the Temple Works Flax Mill where sheep would graze on grass grown to maintain humidity in the building in Victorian times.

Urgent repair works on an empty Egyptian-inspired Victorian flax mill in Leeds have received more than £1 million in grant funding from the Culture Recovery Fund and Historic England. The Holbeck landmark, unused for 20 years and listed Grade I, has been awarded a grant to ensure it is watertight before refurbishment is carried out to enable it to become a potential contender as a home for the British library in Leeds.

The mill, once claimed to be the largest indoor space in the world, was lit from above by natural light flooding through conical rooflights in a grass covered roof (to maintain the humidity required to ensure the flax remained pliant) and grazed by sheep. One of what is estimated to be 230 vacant and under-used mills in Yorkshire, its revitalization is part of Historic England’s ambition to improve environmental sustainability and unlock the potential of these historic buildings. Read more about the funding here.

Former Nottingham Debenhams store given listed status

The building on the corner of Long Row and Market Street. Photograph: Patricia Payne

The BBC reports that the former Debenhams store, which started life on the corner of long Row and Market Street in 1846 as a draper’s shop, has been listed Grade II by DCMS on Historic England’s advice.

Hugh Shannon, Historic England’s listing adviser, said the building defines the character of Nottingham’s commercial core as well as holding significant memories for the populace.

Identifying Opportunities for Integrated Adaptive Management of Heritage Change and Transformation in England: A Review of Relevant Policy and Current Practice

Gibside, Tyne & Wear © Caitlin DeSilvey

This research report, for Historic England, summarises the policy, guidance and statutory frameworks that might enable decision making in the historic environment to accommodate the dynamic transformation of a heritage asset and its associated significance in the context of intensifying environmental drivers of change.

It was produced as part of the Landscape Futures and the Challenge of Change project (2020-2021). It asks if the heritage sector’s presumption in favour of the preservation of fabric against the natural processes of decay, erosion and ecological colonisation is always the best one, especially in cases when such interventions are demonstrated to offer limited benefits. Therefore, and if there is no optimum viable use for an asset, might use be found in the ‘iterative monitoring’ of the effect of natural processes, perhaps requiring enhanced public access and engagement. Though changes to fabric due to adaptive release will erode designated values, other values may emerge, alongside gains for biodiversity.

Such an approach requires landscape scale thinking and the integration of natural and cultural heritage – an approach that may well be required as it has been shown that 80% of assets on the national Heritage List for England will be considered to be at a high level of risk by the second half of this century due to the impacts of environmental processes aggravated by climate driven hazards.

Continued Call for Papers: Global Climate Change and Built Heritage

The Built Heritage Journal is calling for papers on its latest issue ‘Global Climate Change and Built Heritage’. This special issue aims to collate current research into the complex relationship between climate change and built heritage. Papers may include the following topics, but not limited to:

  • The impact of the continued use of built heritage on climate change
  • The impact of climate change on built heritage
  • Learning from the Past
  • Built heritage and environmental justice

The issue is being guest edited by Heritage Declares coordinator Dr Chris Whitman and his colleagues at the Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University. Abstracts are to be sent to built-heritage@tongji.edu.cn to by 29th July 2022.

Any thoughts?

Have you got any thoughts on the April News on Heritage and the Climate Crisis? Or suggestions for the May post? Leave them in the comments below or tweet us @HeritageDecl

Low Carbon Adaptation of Agricultural Buildings in West Dorset

Heritage Declares signatory and volunteer, James Verner, has designed the adaptation of two unused, adjacent agricultural barns on a farmstead in West Dorset for reuse as a single residential dwelling with office space and a space for social gatherings.

The original arrangement comprised two buildings: a mixed use barn with a threshing floor, stable and granary that had its origins in the early 19th century and a modern, open fronted agricultural building, attached at right angles to the historic barn.

Though the 19th century building is not considered to be of any heritage value by the Local Planning Authority, the scheme sought to enhance the heritage significance of the historic barn both through conservation repair as well as replacement of the extensive and damaging use of mass concrete and cement repairs with limecrete and lime mortar. 

The aim of the project was to provide a viable use for two redundant agricultural buildings with the minimum embodied and operational carbon emissions.

Though demolition of the modern agricultural building and its replacement with a new structure would have been more financially economical, it was decided to retain as much fabric as possible in order to conserve the carbon already embodied within it.

A sustainable materials palette, respecting the traditional constructional techniques of the historic barn, was proposed to reduce embodied emissions including the use of wood fibre insulation and timber from local sources to sequester and store carbon in the buildings for as long as they are in use; any steel, brick or masonry was to be from reclaimed sources. A limecrete floor was specified to be finished with polished earth from the locality.

The design allowed intrusive services to be housed in the modern barn. A ground source heat pump, exploiting the excavation required for drainage runs,  was chosen to provide space heating and hot water not only for the adapted buildings but the farmhouse as well, weaning the farmstead off its need for an oil fuelled boiler.

The project is due for completion in autumn 2022: accurate records, available from the contractor’s accounting system, are being used to record carbon emissions embodied in the adaptation which, combined with projected operational emissions, will be used to calculate cumulative emissions over a defined reference study period.

To find out more about the project, email signatory James Verner.

See more of our Case Studies on our Case Studies Page.

Have a Case Study you’d like to submit? Email us.

Heritage and the Climate Crisis: March News 2022

News and publication highlights relating to Heritage and the Climate Crisis from across the month of March.

This month has seen the publication of Historic England’s Climate Change Strategy which has yet again demonstrated the importance of the historic environment as part of the response to the Climate Crisis. We’ve also seen some great, informative articles, resources and campaigns this month, all detailed below.

Fancy Getting involved with Heritage Declares?

Our next meeting is being held Thursday 14th April at 5pm-6pm, join through the link here. We’d love to see more people!

We are also looking for volunteers to help with our social media accounts, website and helping to produce the monthly news and newsletter. Tasks may include:

  • Reviewing news for relevant articles and case studies to be used across our platforms.
  • Creating summaries for the newsletter.
  • Tweeting and retweeting relevant stories on our Twitter.
  • Posting relevant material to our LinkedIn page.
  • Creating photo content for our Instagram.
  • Writing up case studies for the website.

Volunteering is flexible and can fit around your existing commitments. No experience needed beyond an enthusiasm for heritage and raising awareness of the Climate Crisis, we can shape the role to fit your interests.

For more information and to express an interest in volunteering, please email us here.

We are also starting to update our Case Studies page on the website, thank you for all the submissions so far! If you have any case studies you’d like to send us, please email us here.

Historic England publishes Climate Change Strategy

Historic England have published their Climate Change Strategy. This strategy describes Historic England’s response to the climate crisis, setting out their vision, aims and practically how they are mitigating, managing risks and adapting to the Climate Crisis. Read more about it here.

Call for Papers: Global Climate Change and Built Heritage

The Built Heritage Journal is calling for papers on its latest issue ‘Global Climate Change and Built Heritage’. This special issue aims to collate current research into the complex relationship between climate change and built heritage. Papers may include the following topics, but not limited to:

  • The impact of the continued use of built heritage on climate change
  • The impact of climate change on built heritage
  • Learning from the Past
  • Built heritage and environmental justice

The issue is being guest edited by Heritage Declares coordinator Dr Chris Whitman and his colleagues at the Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University. Abstracts are to be sent to built-heritage@tongji.edu.cn to by 29th July 2022.

Campaign to save Grange Lido

A campaign has been created to save Grange Lido, the only surviving seaside lido in the North-West. and one of only four in England. Since its closure in 1993, it has been waiting to be re-opened and now needs some considerable restoration works. Save Grange Lido Ltd is working in partnership with South Lakeland District Council on a two-phase restoration of the Lido. To find more about the campaign and restoration plans, visit their website.

Spring statement 2022: The Chancellor announced that the VAT payable on ‘energy-saving materials’ would go from five per cent to zero from April for five years.

As part of the Spring Statement, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that VAT on the installation of energy efficient materials in homes such as solar panels, heat pumps and insulation is to be cut from 5% to 0%. This article explains the key points of the changes in more detail and the other issues to consider when looking to use more energy saving materials.

Real World Visuals bring Climate data to life through visuals 

Real World Visuals have been working to create simple animations and visuals to demonstrate the impact of the Climate Crisis in the real world. They have created a visual highlighting the carbon footprint of cement, using animation to help people comprehend the scale and volume of carbon footprints. Read more about this project here.

Civic Trust Awards recognition for Preston Bus Station and ERP Killingworth

Two outstanding twentieth century buildings have been recognised for their exemplary restoration, as the winners of the 2022 Civic Trust Awards were announced. Preston Bus Station was threatened with demolition for many years and to see it restored and given recognition through an award champions our campaign to preserve and maintain our existing buildings. Read more about the awards here.

Forgotten women architects celebrated for IWD

Image

For International Women’s Day, Open House London created a Twitter thread celebrating women architects throughout the 20th century. In addition, the thread also exposed the extent that these estates and buildings are being forgotten, poorly maintained and many even demolished, including Rosemary Stjernstedt and Roger Westman’s Central Hill which is currently under threat and has its own campaign twitter here.

National Trust climate threat mapping

Whilst published in 2021, the National Trust’s climate threat mapping is still a relevant resource worth sharing. The map illustrates the threat climate change poses to some of its most iconic and culturally significant sites – and offers some solutions on how to tackle it. The map works by plotting its places alongside existing data on climate change related events. Through doing this the charity is able to understand potential risk factors at a local scale. For more info see their press release.

Any thoughts?

Have you got any thoughts on the March News on Heritage and the Climate Crisis? Or suggestions for the April post? Leave them in the comments below or tweet us @HeritageDecl

Heritage and the Climate Crisis: February News 2022

News and publication highlights relating to Heritage and the Climate Crisis from across the month of February.

The news this month has been tragically centred around the Russian invasion of Ukraine so it feels fitting to start this month’s news by saying that the people of Ukraine and any signatories affected by the events are in our thoughts. Architect’s Journal have recently published an article Inside Ukraine: ‘Our architects haven’t left the bomb shelters for days’ (architectsjournal.co.uk) which gives insight into the current situation of a Kyiv-based practice and the city’s battle for survival. For information on how you can help visit the Disaster’s Emergency Committee.

In terms of Heritage and Climate news, we’ve seen some great, informative articles this month as well as new casework campaigning against demolition, something we are now so accustomed to seeing. This month also saw the launch of our Case Studies page on the website and our open call for case studies. We’ve already had some great submissions so far and can’t wait to get those of the website and share them in future newsletters. If you have a case study you’d like to share, please email us here.

RIBA demands mass retrofit of 3.3m interwar homes to tackle fuel poverty

Photo credit: AJ

The RIBA has called on the government to roll out a new fuel poverty-busting national retrofit strategy for millions of interwar homes. The report sets out how a mass ‘fabric-first’ retrofit drive could be achieved with an emphasis on financial aid, changes to policy and increased skills and training. Read more about the campaign here.

Extreme Flooding at Fountains Abbey, Yorkshire

A fallen tree by Moon Pond, Fountains Abbey

Storm Franklin saw extreme weather conditions across the country and one area which sustained extensive damage was UNESCO World Heritage Site, Fountains Abbey in North Yorkshire. The River Skell overflowed through the Studley Royal estate, and whilst the water did not reach the ruins, it did cause damage to the 18th century water gardens and surrounding parkland. This is just one example of extreme weather causing catastrophe in recent years, all as a result of climate change. Events like these incentivise us to keep pushing for change to prevent more hertitage assets being lost or damaged. Read more about the flooding here.

Carbon Emissions Bill 

Duncan Baker MP for North Norfolk recently submitted a 10 minute rule bill to tackle Embodied Carbon in our buildings. The Bill will require the whole-life carbon emissions of buildings to be reported; to set limits on embodied carbon emissions in the construction of buildings; and for connected purposes. The Bill is currently undergoing its second reading in the House of Commons. To read more about the bill, click here.

Heritage Declares Case Study highlight: Greenlands, sustainability upgrades

Greenlands, Henley Business School

Heritage Declares signatory and volunteer, Emma Healey, led the Barton Willmore Heritage Team in assisting the University of Reading with their sustainability upgrade projects in some of the listed university buildings, including Grade II* listed, Greenlands. The current system was outdated with only two control centres leading the over- and under-heating of the buildings.

The aim of the project was to create a more sustainable heating system which could more easily be controlled but also reduce the costs of heating the building and reduce its carbon footprint. The team worked alongside the University and engineering team to develop a system that could be sympathetically installed within the listed buildings which would be more sustainable and financially viable for the University. Read more about the project on our new Case Studies page.

Planning’s second century needs to learn from the errors of its first

David Williams MRTPI (freelance planning and regeneration specialist) argues that much of 20th century planning and development has proven unsustainable, and the new mantra for planning moving forward should be ‘maintain, adapt, reuse’. Read more about David’s thoughts on sustainability and planning here.

Restoration begins at Saltdean Lido

Saltdean Lido

After much campaigning to save the building and secure funding, restoration has started on Saltdean Lido and will continue across the next 18 months. The Lido are updating people of their progress through Twitter.

Demolition plans for Rotherham Bingo Hall recalled

Redevelopment plans that involve demolishing the historic former Rotherham cinema and replacing it with flats have been withdrawn following the building being granted listed status. Opened in 1934, the cinema was built by Thomas Wade & Son Ltd of Wath upon Dearne. It was designed by Blackmore & Sykes of Hull. It is now Grade II listed, adding an added level of protection against demolition. Read more here.

The demolition of Cowbridge’s historic Former Girls’ School is set to be debated at the Welsh Assembly

Cowbridge’s historic Former Girls’ School

Plans to bulldoze Cowbridge’s historic Former Girls’ School are now set to be debated at the Welsh Assembly. SAVE Britain’s Heritage has written to Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport Dawn Bowden of the Welsh Government of Culture and Sport to request she intervenes to stop the needless loss of the school and shared an alternative scheme for the site. Unfortunately, CADW have refused to list the site. Read more about the campaign here.

Building without Concrete? Looking forward to the built environment without concrete

Robyn Pender from Historic England has written an interesting article on whether the huge environmental burden of concrete is necessary. She questions whether buildings truly require concrete and argues that concrete has become a lazy person’s solution to every problem in the built environment. Read more here.

New measures introduced to manage the impact of climate change on Scotland’s national heritage sites

Photo credit HES

Historic Environment Scotland is implementing a new approach to the inspection of historic properties in response to climate change. A programme of tactile condition surveys on over 200 properties will assess the extent of deterioration of high-level masonry and ensure public safety against the risk of potentially unstable building fabric. As well as assessing general deterioration, the survey will assess the impacts of climate change. Read more about the survey work here.

Tactical Preservation in Detroit

Offering an international perspective, this report takes a look at how to approach empty buildings in the city of Detroit. Furthermore, it considers the ways they can be preserved and avenues for funding. Read more here.

Looking forward

Our next meeting is being held Thursday 10th February at 5pm-6pm, join through the link here.

If you have any case studies you’d like to send us, please email us here.

Any thoughts?

Have you got any thoughts on the February News on Heritage and the Climate Crisis? Or suggestions for the March post? Leave them in the comments below or tweet us @HeritageDecl

Heritage and the Climate Crisis: January News 2022

News and publication highlights relating to Heritage and the Climate Crisis from across the month of January.

Whilst we try and spread some positivity in our monthly news, again through the month of January the headlines have been dominated by some high profile proposed demolitions, this time outside of London with demolitions of 20th century buildings proposed in Conway and Harrogate. Alongside this, there has been some interesting thought pieces on VAT and new builds as well as a new report published on the high profile M&S demolition on Oxford Street, see the Heritage Declares news highlights below.

Harrogate Department Store

Proposed demolition of Harrogate’s 1902 former Debenhams department store

An application has been submitted for the demolition of Harrogate’s 1902 former Debenhams department store on Parliament Street. The proposals would see the building demolished and replaced by 50 high-end apartments and two commercial units. Objections have been raised by Historic England and SAVE Britain’s Heritage questioning the lack of clear or adequate justification for demolition or analysis of refurbishment or retrofitting within the proposals. Read more here.

What if we didn’t build a single new building in 2022?

The most sustainable buildings are the ones already in existence. This article gives an American perspective on the adaptive, reuse projects in the context of the Climate Crisis, as well as some interesting takeaways when we consider new build projects. Read the full article here.

Max Fordham passes away

Acclaimed engineer and pioneer of sustainable building design, Max Fordham, passed away at the beginning of the month aged 88. Read his obituary here.

Demolition of Art Deco Cinema Rejected

In positive news, the demolition of a Grade C-listed Art Deco Cinema in Edinburgh has been rejected as “The application does  not demonstrate that the proposals to undertake substantial demolition will not damage the special architectural and historic interest of the listed building.” Read more here.

Roman toilet seat found in Peatlands, credit Vindolanda.

Climate Change Threatening buried UK Treasures

The changing weather patterns as a result of climate change are drying our some peatlands, waterlogged soils which cover about 10% of the UK. As peatlands contain very little oxygen, it is the perfect environment to preserved materials such as wood, leather and textiles which do not rot. As a result of more oxygen entering the peatland system, these materials are now at threat of an accelerated rate of decomposition. Read more here.

Art Deco House, Conwy

Art Deco building in Conwy to be demolished

Conwy Council’s planning committee has voted by nine votes to three in favour of demolishing an art deco house in Conwy. Read more about the decision here. C20 Society campaigned and objected to the proposals alongside locals to no avail despite no evidence being given to support claims of the building being unrepairable. However, the C20 Society are urging the council to reconsider the application, more info here.

Scrapping VAT on repairs would ease the housing crisis

At Heritage Declares, we are continually calling for VAT to be scrapped for repairs and retrofit. This article in The Times, considers the benefits of scrapping VAT on repairs rather than contemplating cutting VAT on energy. Read the full article here.

M&S Store comparison, credit: Mail Online

New report blasts bulldoze and rebuild plan for M&S Oxford Street HQ

SAVE Britain’s Heritage commissioned sustainability and carbon expert Simon Sturgis to produce a report on the M&S proposals on Oxford Street. Read more about the original decision in our November News. The report finds that the proposals do not comply with the UK Government’s net zero legislation to reduce carbon emissions or the Greater London Authority’s stated policy to prioritise retrofit. Read more about the report here. Sign the petition to stop the demolition here.

New RIBA Publications on the Adaptive Reuse of Historic Buildings

RIBA have recently published three new publications on the adaptive reuse of historic buildings: Sustainability Past and Future Guide, International case studies and UK Case studies. These are a useful free resource to aid built heritage professionals and clients to take an informed approach to sustainability-focused interventions in existing buildings. If you are interested and want to know more, the guide and case studies available here.

Working historic gas lamp, Westminster

Join the London Gasketeers in their fight to save London’s Historic Working Gas Lamps

Westminster Council intended to remove 300 historic working gas lamps, to replace them with fake replicas powered by LED light. The London Gasketeers are building a community to work to save London’s historic gas lamps. The council were targeting 160 unlisted lamps first- in Covent Garden & Westminster. However, thanks to the London Gasketeers, work has halted, read more here. At Heritage Declares, we champion repair, regular maintenance to protect our historic buildings and their fittings and fixtures as the most sustainable approach. Whilst we understand the eco-friendly credentials of LED lamps, an approach to sustainability should be proportionate. Does the amount of gas used by these lamps outweigh the carbon used in making new, replacement lamps? We encourage you to follow the London Gasketeers on Instagram and Twitter to find out more.

ACAN lodge petition to Limit the Carbon Footprint of Construction

The carbon footprint of new buildings and infrastructure accounted for around 20% of the UK’s overall carbon emissions in 2020. ACAN have created a petition petition to ask the UK government to introduce legislation to limit the carbon footprint of construction now, through changes to The Building Regulations and National Planning Policy. We encourage you to sign the petition here.

Making solar power an option for more homes

More homes and businesses in Kensington and Chelsea could be powered by renewable energy, with proposals to make installing solar panels easier. Kensington and Chelsea Council is the first in the country to consult on a new planning order, which would give consent for solar panels on most Grade II and some Grade II* listed buildings without the need for individual listed building consent. Read the consultation here.

Low Cost/No Cost Tips for Sustainability in Cultural Heritage

Signatory Lorraine Finch has published her book ‘Low cost/no cost tips for sustainability in cultural heritage’. The book is available to read and download free of charge on her website.

Looking forward

Our next meeting is being held Thursday 10th February at 5pm-6pm, join through the link here.

Take part in the Welsh Historic Environment Group Climate Change Subgroup Historic Environment and Climate Change Adaptation Activity Survey 2021. They are looking for examples of about climate action work from 2021 relating to their Historic Environment and Climate Change in Wales Sector Adaptation Plan. Survey available here, more information available here. You have until 18th February to take part.

Any thoughts?

Have you got any thoughts on the January Heritage and the Climate Crisis News Highlights? Or suggestions for the February post? Leave them in the comments below or tweet us @HeritageDecl

Heritage and the Climate Crisis: December News 2021

News and publication highlights relating to Heritage and the Climate Crisis from across the month of December.

With demolitions unfortunately hitting the headlines again throughout December, we weren’t short of news this month. However it isn’t all doom and gloom with some great positive news with some good case studies, an upcoming publication from one of our signatories and Heritage Declares hitting some big stats, see the Heritage Declares news highlights below.

Farringdon Lane

Farringdon Lane Demolition Approved

Despite objections from Historic Buildings and Places and the C20 Society, City of London has approved the demolition of a fine pair of Portland stone buildings built in 1921 on Farringdon Street. The new building also obliterates Turnagain Lane, which has existed since the 13th century. We ask on Twitter, how can the loss of yet another good quality pair of buildings be supported? Whilst the scheme will see the reuse of foundations and materials, is this enough in a #ClimateCrisis?

Heritage Declares hit 50 organisations and 275 individuals!

At Heritage Declares, we are pleased to announce we have hit 50 organisation and 275 individual signatories and growing! This is a big milestone for us and we would like to thank each of you for taking the time to support us and sign our declaration. Not already signed up? Sign up here: Heritage Declares Declaration.

Richard Rogers passes away

Celebrated architect and sustainability champion, Richard Rogers, passed away at the age of 68.

“The biggest opportunity may not be in large sites, but in intelligent retrofitting and redevelopment, adapting existing buildings and working outward from high streets and neighbourhood centres…”

Richard Rogers (2014)

Former John Lewis store, Sheffield.

Sheffield’s former John Lewis store facing demolition threat

Experts commissioned to assess options for the vacant 1963 YRM-designed John Lewis store in Sheffield have recommended its demolition, rather than a more costly retrofit. Architect’s Journal article delves into more detail.

What if Old Buildings Are Greener Than New Ones?

Slate published an article entitled What if Old Buildings Are Greener Than New Ones? An informative piece on the need to assess the sustainability of a building’s entire history and future not just its energy use and costs in light of the Tulip Decision, last month.

AJ Retrofit Awards 2022 Shortlist revealed

The AJ has shortlisted 102 projects for the AJ Retrofit Awards 2022

Manchester Jewish Museum by Citizens Design Bureau: Shortlisted in Cultural and Religious. Source:Philip Vile

SPAB case study on Air Source Heat Pumps and PV Panels

SPAB published a case study on the proposals for Air Source Heat Pumps and Solar PV Panels at St Mary of the Annunciation, Beaminster. They shared the details of the proposals, the energy savings and their thoughts on the appropriateness of the proposals. SPAB also provided some useful guidance on what they like to see in an application and required clarification.

The eastern elevation. CC BY-SA 2.0 / Mike Searle

Victorian Society’s 2021 Top Endangered Buildings

Victorian Society’s 2021 Top 10 Endangered Buildings list has been published. Our heritage can play a role in our move towards Net Zero 2050 through reuse, these buildings badly need funding, repair works and protection from demolition.

Looking forward

Our next meeting is being held Thursday 13th January at 5pm-6pm, join through the link here.

Signatory Lorraine Finch is publishing her book ‘Low cost/no cost tips for sustainability in cultural heritage’ on 17th January. The book will be available to read and download free of charge on her website.

Lorraine Finch will also be hosting a webinar Environmental Sustainability and Archives: What Does It Mean and what Can You Do? On Wednesday 26th January 2022, 10:00 – 11:45GMT on Zoom. £10 for ARA members. £20 non-members. Sign up here.

Any thoughts?

Have you got any thoughts on the December News on Heritage and the Climate Crisis? Or suggestions for the January post? Leave them in the comments below or tweet us @HeritageDecl