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Publication details for Dr Thomas Yarrow

Yarrow, T. (2016). Negotiating Heritage and Energy Conservation: an ethnography of domestic renovation. The Historic Environment: policy and practice 7(4): 340-351.

Author(s) from Durham


What is the relationship between energy efficiency and old buildings? While a large body of research exists on the buildings science and technology of retro-fit, relatively little attention has focused on the social practices and assumptions that shape how and whether these technologies are practically applied. The paper presents findings from an ethnographic study of building professionals, planners and home-owners involved in the renovation and retrofit of buildings of attributed historic value. These perspectives highlight how the value of the past is negotiated in a range of socially specific ways, in relation to ideas about climate change and energy efficiency. It is argued that people’s understandings of the past shape specific understandings of ‘acceptable change’ and that the meaning and value of old buildings is itself transformed in relation to these concerns.