Buckingham Palace and energy efficiency: How does your Grade I listed property compare?

A thermal scan of Buckingham Palace shows heat escaping from windows

Found to be leaking energy through its walls, windows and foundations, in 2009 Buckingham Palace scored 0 out of 10 for its eco-credentials and was declared the least eco-friendly building in London.

Since then the Palace has announced a number of initiatives to improve its earth-friendly status, while navigating a complex combination of heritage issues.

As arguably our most prestigious listed building, and containing around 600 rooms, it is no mean feat.

As a Buckingham Palace spokesperson explained“In developing plans to reduce energy consumption across the Occupied Royal Palaces Estate, the Royal Household has to take into account the restrictions that apply to heritage properties, such as Buckingham Palace; for example, the age and fabric of the building means that the ability to modify it, such as adding double-glazing to limit heat loss, is limited.”

The Palace’s Grade I listed status means that the installation of new technology needs to be carried out in accordance with myriad restraints and restrictions. An appropriate balance has to be struck between conservation and energy efficiency measures in order to avoid lasting damage. Buckingham Palace is required to hold monthly meetings with the English Heritage to ensure that any changes are in alignment with its guidelines for energy efficiency in historic buildings.

But listed status doesn’t mean you can’t introduce eco-friendly features when renovating your property. Buckingham Palace has found ways of overcoming its particular challenges – which ones can you apply to your own renovation project?

  • LED lighting is being phased in to many areas of the building, alongside high-frequency lamps.
  • An ongoing programme is replacing inefficient boilers with energy efficient systems.
  • Many areas of the building are fitted with light sensors so electricity is not wasted when rooms and not in use
  • The Palace’s radiators are automatically attuned when outside temperatures rise, ensuring that the building is never heated any more than is required
  • Basement ducts and heating pipes of asbestos have been cleared as a precursor to upgrading services
  • Installation of gas and electric SMART meters throughout the estate

Between meal preparations the fans run at minimum capacity, and only run at their full capability during preparations for a State Banquet. Granted, this isn’t an issue for all property owners! For more tips on making your listed property energy efficient during the renovation process take a look at the Saving energy section of the English Heritage website.

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