Alex Hilliam, Changeworks Senior Researcher in Behaviour Change, is exploring the challenges of fitting slimline double glazing in traditional properties in Scotland, as part of a project funded by the Scottish Government’s Learning Network Challenge Fund.

In my earlier blog, I described how we were inspired by our previous research and demonstration project to explore planning policies across Scotland, in particular for Listed Buildings, to see what glazing options are open to owners of these properties in different local authority areas. We also explored the journey for homeowners – what do people think about the rules and what more could be done to get more double glazing installed?

I have to confess that we were surprised by the findings!  First we reviewed the planning websites of all 32 local authorities. Then we contacted 15 local authorities to review their planning policies and found that slimline double glazing was able to be installed in listed buildings in far more cases that we anticipated. Good news for making listed properties energy efficient!

From our discussions with local authority planning representatives it appeared that, generally, overall visual merit is an important consideration concerning window repair and replacement. Consequently the use of contemporary slimline double glazing in listed properties was allowed in many areas. Double glazing

However, homeowners do have to make a planning application to fit double glazing with planning approval granted on a case by case basis. There are some hard and fast rules, but no guarantees and things vary across local authorities – so speak to your local planning office if you have any questions.  

We also ran a workshop in Edinburgh with owners, installers, planning officers and stakeholders interested in heritage buildings or energy efficiency, to explore the customer journey for those wanting to fit slimline double glazing. 

It was informative to hear how much confusion and varied the experiences were about:

  • Obtaining permissions to fit different double glazing types, both to listed properties and those in conservation areas
  • Different stakeholders having such different perceptions of slimline glazing options, in terms of suitability and longevity, and
  • The importance the first point of contact was to homeowners in terms of their decision making and likelihood to install slimline double glazing. 

We are finalising our research findings and will develop recommendations to make the journey easier for homeowners which we’ll make available to all stakeholders involved with heritage buildings. It was clear that any homeowner wishing to install double glazing forward should speak to their local planners about what you can do, based on our experience they are really helpful, and to the variety of sources about what the best solution for is. There are lots of perceptions out there!

We will be hosting a webinar for these stakeholders later this month to share our full findings on the workshop and to compare the Edinburgh experience with those in other local authority areas. Watch this space for part 3!


Alex Hilliam
Changeworks' Senior Researcher – Behaviour Change