A study of the thermal improvement methods employed on traditional building fabric: Specific to traditional Scottish stone walls and slate roofs
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The energy efficiency of traditional buildings has become increasingly important in the design and construction industry over the past forty years or so. Instigated initially by the oil crisis in the seventies, when it became apparent that many existing buildings were consuming far too much fuel, it has been furthered since then with significant research into energy consumption. The conservation of traditional buildings is inherently sustainable. The building is already constructed, often of natural materials such as stone or wood, and in most cases still has considerable life left in it. Its impact on energy resource consumption in terms of construction has passed. A traditional building, which retains its built fabric when adapted or reused, is considered to have low embodied energy. In order to maintain and further this inherent sustainability, the buildings operational energy use should be improved upon. There is a common misconception that traditional buildings cannot be energy efficient ones. It is imperative that we dispel this notion as it is usually founded on an inability to understand how a traditional building works. However when it comes to altering the building fabric to improve it, conflicts can arise between the significance of the fabric in historic or architectural terms, and its ability to function as an energy efficient piece of construction. Modifications should not be to the detriment of the existing fabric, but improvements must be explored, to ensure these buildings continue to be used and continue to be sustainable.