28 YEARBOOK 2023 chances of the results getting out into the general market. In the past 15 or so years, research in our sector has increased significantly, and this can be attributed to the heritage sector being much more active in promoting the importance of protecting our built environment, awareness within communities and the great work of our many conservation and heritage officers now in place. The EU has also increased their support for our built environment through increased research funding, legislation and directives such as the recent Horizon Europe Funding Stream, The Green Wave. The EPBD is also being reviewed and due out soon. All these initiatives are encouraging more activity in the built environment, more acceptance of the built environment, better funding opportunities and it is beginning to change the economics of the adaptive reuse of our traditional and heritage buildings. Key areas for further development include research into embodied carbon, the analysis of the skills required and the development of targeted training, the improvements in legislation and statutory guidance, better understanding of what can go wrong (maladaptation), and the improvement in data gathering and sharing. Embodied carbon Thanks to the declaration of the climate emergency, we are now realizing that embodied carbon can be a huge factor in meeting our national and international emission targets. The more we, the heritage sector, can prove its importance, the more buildings we will save. The built environment will become a climate action and the importance of our traditional and heritage buildings will become more profoundly valued. The more built heritage is seen as a climate action the better, as much funding is being planned and ring-fenced by governments to reduce our dependence Installing a 188kW ground source heat pump system to heat the Rubrics building (Photo: Ric Pasquali, Geoserv) and, right, a new insulating cork lime render replaces a dense cementitious pebbledash which was added to the walls of the Rubrics in the mid-20th century (Photo: Peter Cox). Following this exemplar conservation and energy retrofit programme, the building is now certified with an energy rating of B3. on fossil fuels. The development of carbon intensive new buildings cannot be justified when existing buildings can be a low carbon solution. Training and skills In promoting and developing the energy retrofit of our built heritage, we will need to improve the training and skills of those working with traditional buildings, materials and trades. This is certainly where IHBC could come to the fore by using its contacts to design and run such courses. Future legislation Two immediate avenues to drive and ensure the sympathetic sustainability of our traditional and heritage buildings are being muted in Europe. Many companies are already voluntarily producing ‘environmental product declarations’ but EPDs will become statutory within a short period of time. Certainly, the idea being floated at a European level is a carbon fine for demolition and a carbon credit for the adaptive reuse of an existing building.