Historic buildings and environmental sustainability

Climate change is a key environmental challenge. Approximately 25% of the UK’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions come from the energy we use to heat, light and power our homes.

We are committed to play our part in addressing climate change and have signed up to a borough wide CO2 reduction target of 40% by 2020. In the UK 27% of CO2 emissions come from the energy we use to heat, light and power our homes so it is essential we address the way energy is used in our existing building stock.  

Historic environment

We are also committed to conserving the borough’s historic environment, preserving and enhancing the character and appearance of its conservation areas and the special historic and architectural interest of its listed buildings. 

The design of many historic houses provides naturally well lit and ventilated accommodation and they can be very popular to live in because of their qualities of space and light. However, their solid walled construction means that insulating walls is less easy than for buildings with cavity walls and, if not carefully controlled, heat is quickly lost through walls, up chimneys and through gaps in windows and doors. 

A full house retrofit is a comprehensive (and expensive) way of improving the way energy is used in your home, but there are a number of free, cheap or lower cost measures that you should consider before you embark on it.

Energy Efficiency Planning Guidance for Conservation Areas

We are now consulting residents on new guidance for energy saving in conservation areas. To read about the consultation and view the guidance please visit our consultation pages

This consultation asks people to:

  • Consider the content of the draft guidance
  • Comment, suggest additional information for inclusion or other changes as appropriate

Why do we need this guidance?

With temperatures dropping and gas prices rising, having an energy efficient home has never been more important. Not only to provide warm, dry living spaces and to reduce energy bills, but also to contribute to action to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change.   However Camden is also an attractive and historic borough with some 75% of our developed areas designated as ‘conservation areas’, which means they have a special character and appearance that we have a duty  to preserve. 

Our response to the pressing need to reduce energy use must therefore be sensitive in order to preserve the heritage significance of the borough.   Historic homes in Camden’s conservation areas can be made more energy efficient, often through relatively minor and easy interventions, which enable them to retain their special character and appearance, as well as the features – like historic doors and windows - that make them special.   Where major energy efficiency measures are proposed, it is important to consider how and where these are likely to be acceptable – conserving character and saving energy are both important. 

How will the guidance help us?

This guidance will help residents in conservation areas to:

  • decide on the most effective things they can do to save energy
  • prioritise the work to undertaken;
  • consider the costs and other implications;
  • appreciate the character of your conservation area; and
  • understand how to introduce energy saving measures which preserve the character of your conservation area.

We hope that by helping residents to understand what is important about their conservation area, and how best to prioritise, and plan for energy efficiency saving work, we can contribute to reducing greenhouse emissions and preserve the special character and attractive appearance of Camden’s historic areas. 

What happens next?

The consultation runs from 2 December 2013 - 2 February 2014. Following the consultation we will:


  • review representations made during the consultation
  • submit the revised EEPG for adoption (spring 2014)

If you have any queries please email: EEPG@camden.gov.uk

Retrofitting - making your home more sustainable

Our non-statutory guidance is aimed at home owners who wish to make their home more sustainable:

The guidance provides information on the planning process for installing low carbon technologies such as insulation and renewable energy systems.

It has a specific section on heritage issues e.g. conservation areas and listed buildings.

Energy efficiency planning guidance for Dartmouth Park and Holly Lodge Estate conservation areas

We have also produced area-specific guidance for Dartmouth Park and Holly Lodge Estate conservation areas as part of a pilot project to look at how homes in conservation areas can be energy-upgraded in a way that does not cause harm to their character or appearance. Guidance for homes in the borough’s other conservation areas will be prepared in 2013.

Dartmouth Park

Holly Lodge Estate

Saving energy and keeping warm


  • English Heritage website
    includes the ‘whole home energy toolkit’, general advice and detailed technical information.
  • Sustainable Energy Academy
    promotes education and action to reduce the carbon footprint of buildings and communities, includes details of homes that have reduced their energy consumption by 60% by retrofitting measures and which are open to view by the public
  • Sustainable Traditional Buildings Alliance (STBA)
    A forum which aims to promote a more sustainable traditional built environment in the UK through research, education, training and policy.


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