Expect rising demand for heritage refurbs says Rehau

Installers and fabricators are being advised to adapt their portfolios to meet rising demand for high-performance frames sympathetic to traditional housing designs, in the wake of the Government’s new energy efficiency drive for historic homes.

Announced by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, the wide-ranging review will look to tackle barriers to making houses built before 1919 more energy-efficient in line with the UK’s net zero emissions commitments.

With the drive focusing on protecting the beauty of the affected buildings, Rehau is highlighting how fabricators and installers could review their existing frame offerings to secure more retrofitting work.

“It is well-known that retrofitting historic buildings, including listed properties and those in conservation areas, can pose unique challenges for both the homeowners and project stakeholders,” explained Russell Hand, head of product management and technical at Rehau UK. “This new drive from the government should therefore be welcomed as a key step to ensuring energy-efficient housing in line with legislation such as the Future Homes Standard.

“However, the drive to make these structures fit for the future should not come at the cost of their aesthetic appeal. As a key factor in building thermal performance, windows should be one of the first structural components to be considered for upgrading work.

“Consequently, window fitters and fabricators would benefit from including frames in their portfolio that can assuage concerns over ugly or inappropriate retrofits if they are to win new business from people who own or live in historic homes.”

“For example, while our own heritage vertical sliding window system can be marketed on its U-value of 1.2 W/m2K and customisability with colours, Georgian bars, run-through sash horns and other window furniture, other factors may also be considered.

“Promoting jointing and sash options, security accreditations, weather performance and other considerations may provide the difference if businesses are to thrive in what may soon be a booming market.

“We would therefore advise fenestration professionals to work closely with their supplier to see what is possible,” continued Russell. “For example, at Rehau, our commercial team is already working closely supporting fitters and fabricators to demonstrate how new PVC-U window designs can work alongside other features on historic buildings, including shutters.”