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The curved road of Regent Street

Case study

A sustainable future: heritage buildings

We are stewards of some of the most iconic historic buildings in London. These buildings – as well as many across the country – play an important role in national life. They connect us to our past, bring character to our streets and are central to civic pride.

While these buildings were created using the innovations of their day, they now represent significant challenges to meet modern sustainability standards.

This has major consequences for the UK government to meet its commitment to achieve net zero by 2050, with nearly a quarter of all UK homes and almost a third of commercial properties categorised as historic buildings (built prior to 1919).

Together with our partners – Grosvenor, Peabody, Historic England and the National Trust – we have demonstrated that this challenge will require new skills and a workforce of 205,000 to focus solely on retrofitting historic buildings every year from now until 2050. This is more than double the number of workers we estimate currently have the necessary skills.

In this challenge lies a major opportunity. We also estimate that mobilising to meet this challenge would generate £35 billion of output annually, support 290,000 jobs, while delivering more efficient homes that are less expensive to heat. Despite this, the UK does not currently have a joined-up strategy for tackling the energy efficiency of its historic buildings.

We are determined to use our resources and experience to play our part, working alongside the UK government, industry and civil society to seize the opportunities presented by the transition to a low-carbon future.

As a group of organisations, we are passionate about the historic built environment and the health and wellbeing of the people who live in, work in and visit it.

“We must rise to one of the UK’s biggest net zero transition challenges – decarbonising historic buildings and ensuring they are future-fit. By acting now we can turn a major risk into an opportunity.”

Anna Swaithes, Head of Sustainability

Our strategy in action

We make the most of our unique attributes and diverse national portfolio to generate wide and lasting value.