Last edited 30 Oct 2013

Does the past have a future

Ely Cathedral.jpg

Ely Cathedral - how can we protect our built heritage and make it work for us in the future?

Two speakers addressed the College of Estate Management's Annual Alumni CPD Event on February 14.

English Heritage Commissioner, Jane Kennedy, explained that our built heritage contributes £4.3 billion to GDP, and yet our national heritage isn't given high priority politically. English Heritage itself has taken a 34% budget cut under the present government. She outlined three steps to securing a future for our past: by telling a bigger and more powerful story about our heritage and its assets; by ensuring we have the best possible heritage protection system; and by using heritage to drive regeneration.

"We care about heritage not because we live in the past, but because we love the present and we care about the best future."

The second speaker, Douglas Kent, Technical and Research Director with the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB), discussed SPAB's research into traditional buildings (pre-1919) which focuses on U-values, building performance surveys and hygrothermal modelling.

One of the reasons for the research is to avoid the potential pitfalls of 'greening up' the built environment, particularly with the launch of the government's new Green Deal. For example, SPAB's research found that in traditional buildings, U-values are underestimated in 77% of cases. That means the majority of walls in traditional buildings are more energy efficient than SAP ratings and commercial U-value software indicate. He suggested that we need continuing high-quality research to reduce carbon emissions in our traditional buildings – which account for around a quarter of our building stock.

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