City of London Corporation launches ‘Retrofit Toolkit’ to protect heritage buildings

The City Corporation has, today, launched a Heritage Buildings Retrofit Toolkit, at an event at the Merchant Taylors’ Great Hall. 

‘Retrofitting the City’ was co-organised by the City of London Corporation and Purcell (who supported the development of the toolkit) and included speakers from Historic England, as well as individuals involved in leading heritage retrofit schemes in the City, including the London Museum. 

The toolkit seeks to empower owners of heritage buildings to initiate the adaptations necessary to reduce carbon emissions and build climate resilience, a key priority of the City Corporation’s Climate Action Strategy, as it progresses toward a net-zero Square Mile by 2040. 

With more than 600 listed buildings, 28 conservation areas, 48 scheduled ancient monuments and four historic parks and gardens, the Square Mile’s heritage structures pose a significant retrofit challenge, given the diverse range of buildings and their specific planning and conservation considerations.

The open-access toolkit provides a nine-step methodology to enable building owners to confidently start the process of responsible retrofit, to build a business case and deliver the necessary adaptations, in a way that protects these important community assets.

Whilst this toolkit draws on the historic environment of the Square Mile, referencing structures that are most significant to the City’s unique character, it is equally relevant to towns and cities in the UK and around the world who are exploring how to adapt their historic buildings for a sustainable future.

Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Planning and Transportation Committee, Shravan Joshi, said:

“It is vital we secure a sustainable future for our historic environment. Our ability to adapt our heritage buildings depends on developing a common understanding and promoting good practice of what can be achieved.  This toolkit provides a structured approach to such collaboration.

“As the custodian of many heritage assets, the City Corporation itself is part of this journey and wants to share our own experiences and learn from others. This event is a further step along that journey, and we are committed to ensuring our policies and resources support others to act.”

Climate Action Policy Lead of the City of London Corporation, Alderman Alison Gowman, said:

“At the City Corporation we recognise that an important part of conserving our heritage buildings is ensuring they are fit for the future.  This means making them as energy efficient as possible, reducing their carbon emissions and adapting them to changes to the climate.  This toolkit provides a structured process for pursuing these actions, drawing on latest guidance and good practice.”

“Through our Climate Action Strategy, we have slashed the Corporation’s net carbon emissions by 66% since 2018 - putting us on track to hit our target to reach net zero in our own operations by 2027. We are now approaching the fourth year of our Strategy and will continue to have a heavy focus on buildings.” 

Access the Heritage Building Retrofit Toolkit here: Heritage Building Retrofit Toolkit (cityoflondon.gov.uk)