Heritage and carbon

Can historic buildings help tackle climate change?

Historic buildings are central to Britain’s culture and economy. We think they can also play a leading role in the fight against climate change.

To do that, five core issues have to be addressed: policy, guidance, cost, supply chain skills and capacity in local government. It needs a joined up, integrated approach across both policy and practice.

This summer, one part of that jigsaw could be tackled immediately. We think the Government should use the impetus of planning reform and COP26 to commit to aligning heritage protection and environmental sustainability much more closely in the NPPF and include policies for carbon reduction in relation to all designated heritage assets, excluding scheduled ancient monuments.

If this happened, it could cut operational carbon emissions nationwide by up to 7.7 MtC02 per year, equivalent to 5% of the UK’s carbon emissions associated with buildings in 2019.

It would also act as a powerful stimulus to the green economy and help protect a crucial part of our common heritage which gives so many people a sense of civic pride and identity across the UK.    

The argument behind this call for policy change is captured in a new paper published by Grosvenor. This has been developed over the last six months in discussion with a group of consultative partners including the National Trust, Historic England, Peabody, Southern Housing Group and The Crown Estate, and written with Donald Insall Associates.

You can download the paper here.

To find out what Grosvenor is doing to retrofit its own estate, read here.

Watch the webinar

On 15 July, Grosvenor hosted a live debate with industry experts on how historic buildings can lead the charge on climate action

Watch our webinar

On 15 July, Grosvenor Britain & Ireland hosted a live debate with industry experts on how historic buildings can lead the charge on climate action

Polling results

During the webinar, we asked the audience for their views on the heritage and carbon debate

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Our £90m retrofit programme

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Going for Zero

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Environmental Leadership

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Group 2