A ground-breaking project by Changeworks' Sustainable Futures team is set to result in a city-wide policy change on double glazing in listed buildings.

After special double glazing suitable for historic properties was successfully installed in category A' and "B' listed buildings in Edinburgh's Old and New Towns the council's Planning Committee last week voted in favour of a policy update. This should enable householders in listed buildings across Edinburgh to install double glazing in their homes saving money and reducing CO2 emissions while maintaining the historic appearance of their buildings.

The pilot installations are sited in the historic centre of Edinburgh, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where around 75% of the buildings are listed. Special slim-profile glazing systems were used, designed with historic buildings in mind to minimise any changes in appearance.

The project has shown that historic buildings can be made more energy efficient without compromising their appearance or cultural integrity. Subsequent testing showed that the thermal efficiency of the windows was dramatically improved by replacing single glazing with double glazing. Changeworks received funding from The City of Edinburgh Council to investigate the potential for double glazing in listed buildings and carry out a series of pilot installations. The project was carried out in partnership with Lister Housing Co-operative and Edinburgh World Heritage both of whom provided funding for the capital works; additional funding was provided by Historic Scotland and the Scottish Government's Wider Role fund.

Nicholas Heath, Senior Project Officer at Changeworks  said: "Our aim was to demonstrate that historic buildings can be made more energy efficient without damaging the way they look. This project will help tackle fuel poverty and carbon emissions in central Edinburgh, where the construction and historic significance of the buildings can make this a real challenge. We are delighted that all the key heritage and planning bodies are working with us and Lister to find ways of making older housing more energy efficient."

Alistair Cant, Director of Lister Housing Co-operative where most of the installations took place said: "The feedback from our tenants is very positive for the improvements both to their comfort and heating bills.