Thermal Imaging Survey Reveals – Close Your Shutters

Thermal imaging surveys of historic buildings conducted by Edinburgh World Heritage last month, have clearly revealed how effective shutters, curtains and blinds are at preventing heat loss through windows.

A thermal imaging camera reveals where heat is leaking from a building, with hot areas showing up red and colder surfaces in blue. Throughout Edinburgh’s World Heritage Site the results were consistent, where shutters and curtains were closed they proved to be highly effective in keeping in the heat.

The images below show left: Shutters – first floor internal shutters closed, ground floor left open. Georgian New Town house. right: Shutters and blinds – window at top right has internal shutters and blinds closed. Victorian tenement.


The surveys were conducted free as part of the on-going Climate Challenge Fund project with the aim of providing advice and guidance to owners of historic buildings in the World Heritage Site.

Adam Wilkinson, Director of Edinburgh World Heritage said: “This survey really shows how effective simple measures can be in reducing heat loss from historic buildings. Closing shutters and curtains makes a clear difference, and if combined with draught excluders and weather stripping around doors and letter boxes the overall effect can be dramatic. This common-sense approach means home owners can save on their heating bills, while reducing carbon emissions, and ensuring historic buildings retain their character.”

While modern houses have improved levels of insulation built in, there is often little space in older houses where insulation can be placed. Lining rooms internally is an option if the rooms can cope with losing a few inches but the restrictions placed on listed buildings mean this is rarely an option.

But anyone can afford to use thermal lining with their curtains – the curtains look and hang much better with a good lining as well.

The project is funded by the Climate Challenge Fund, which was set up to tackle climate change by reducing carbon emissions. Over 250 communities throughout Britain have been funded and are providing detailed information for householders to act on. The Fund has a total resource of £27.4 million over the three financial years 2008-11 and is a grant scheme administered within the Sustainable Action Fund.

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Suse Coon

Suse Coon started life training to be an architect but ended up as a fashion buyer then civil servant. After some time out to bring up her family of three, she returned to what had been a hobby and entered the field of freelance journalism. After becoming regional correspondent, then editor of the orienteering magazine CompassSport, she formed Pages Editorial & Publishing Services. In this guise, West Lothian Life was launched, while Suse maintained a level of freelancing and wrote the award winning children's novel Richard's Castle. In 1999, Suse bought over CompassSport and found her time taken up pretty well exclusively with the two magazines. In 2004, West Lothian Life was expanded to form Lothian Life, however, the workload was too great. In 2006, CompassSport was sold and Suse concentrated on the web version of Lothian Life. Her hobbies include gardening, orienteering, sea kayaking and Tai Chi.

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