About Us

The Sustainable Traditional Buildings Alliance (STBA) is a collaboration of not for profit organisations that aims to promote and deliver a more sustainable traditional built environment in the UK. The Aims and Objectives of the STBA are:

  1. The health of the occupant.
  2. The health and durability of the building fabric.
  3. The energy consumption attributed to the building/occupant.
  4. The impact on our communities and culture.
  5. The impact on the natural environment.
  • To promote better understanding of traditional buildings both as existing and when refurbished, and their impact on occupants, environment and society.
  • To ensure relevant research is undertaken and the findings are disseminated as widely as possible to inform a range of stakeholders and end users.
  • To develop, deliver and continually improve intelligence available to the construction industry regarding the correct repair, maintenance, improvement and retrofit of traditional buildings.

Further details are given on our website www.stbauk.org To contact us click here


Both the Knowledge Centre and Guidance Wheel provide information based on current research that can aid decision making on measures to improve the energy efficiency of traditional buildings.

They have been developed in their particular form to reflect the fact that there is not only uncertainty in much of the research data about traditional building performance and the effects of retrofit, but also complex interactions between measures and conflicting priorities and values. This context is explained in the STBA report The Responsible Retrofit of Traditional Buildings (September 2012, funded by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

The intention and desire of the developers and funders is that the Wheel and Knowledge Centre continue to be developed in response to and through interaction with professional and public participation in traditional building retrofit, an in the learning that accompanies this.  In this way the risks accompanying retrofit can be reduced, the positive opportunities increased, and society can benefit from joint endeavour and understanding.

The development of both the Guidance Wheel and Knowledge Centre has been funded to this point by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

In more detail, the Guidance Wheel and the Knowledge Centre serve different purposes:


In addition to providing information to aid decision making, the purpose of the Knowledge Centre is also to develop knowedge and to build a movement of learning and transition to a more responsible retrofit of traditional buildings.

The Knowledge Centre will be updated on a regular basis as case studies and new research and evidence about traditional buildings retrofit becomes available.  It will also evolve in time to incorporate direct feedback, case studies and experiences from users.

The Knowledge Centre has been developed with funding and support from the Department of Environment and Climate Change (DECC) and CITB. It was developed by Brightminded in a project led by Neil May, Isabel Carmona and Tom Randall under the direction of the STBA project group.


The purpose of the Guidance Wheel is to explore potential retrofit measures in more detail, with a specific building (or set of buildings) in mind. The information given considers the building’s context including heritage value, state of repair, exposure and the building users.

In the exploration of potential measures, the Wheel identifies different benefits and concerns in relation to the three categories of energy (and to some extent carbon), heritage (including community issues) and technical (meaning all non-energy based material consequences including the health of fabric and occupants).

Benefits area made clear in text just underneath each measure and concerns are categorised as four levels of risk indicated by colour (red, orange, yellow and green). The concerns are explained and they are linked to relevant references so that further understanding of the issue can be researched easily.  The Wheel also indicates useful actions before, during and after retrofit to reduce the risk of various measures.  It also indicates important relationships between measures and thus provides a holistic, systemic approach to the retrofit design, application and use, thereby reducing the risk and increasing benefits as well as understanding.

A full acknowledgment of the Wheel’s development team is given in the “About” tab of the Guidance Wheel. The concept behind the Wheel developed from the ideas and work for a Triage system by William Bordass Associates that were funded by English Heritage in 2010.