Burgundian winters are cold; the temperance of costal climates is far away and the seasons are exquisitely well defined. If a house is insulated properly a minimum of energy is required to heat it. With the cost energy rising yearly the investment in thorough insulation takes very little time to pay out. One of the great advantages in renovating is that, although old houses can be more difficult to insulate, you can make sure it is done properly. Particular care must be paid to old doors, windows and roofs in order to prevent draughts.

Heating systems vary. Whatever you choose, if you are going to install a heating system it should be included early in the planning stages to avoid having to take up any new floors or walls to put down pipes. Given the profusion of managed woodland many people use wood to heat their homes, either wood-burning stoves (poêles) or central heating fuelled by woodburners in the basement (chaudière à bois). This is not as costly as non-renewable resources. Installing a poêle and involving yourself with the local community by buying wood (or indeed going out to help to cut it down) is a relatively inexpensive, authentic Burgundian method.  Oil and electricity are expensive but the cost of all these alternatives is always relative to how well the insulation is done.

Your house can’t leave with you, so even if you don’t intend to be in Burgundy for the winters, making it weather tight and insulated is imperative. Empty houses dilapidate fast, and there are few things less pleasant than arriving for a holiday and spending the first few days scrubbing mould off the walls and trying to warm and air a frigid building.

Insulation has a part to play in summer comfort as well. If, for example, you are converting an attic space in order to house summer guests, roof insulation is essential to avoid an oven effect.

Insulation is the key to creating an easily habitable space in a long-term, cost-effective manner.