You don’t have to go very far in London before you run up against an environmental issue, from the high levels of air pollution commuter’s face on a daily basis, to the humble hose pipe ban. Fortunately, building an extension can give you the perfect opportunity to improve your home and make your house more eco-friendly. With some careful thought and tricks of the trade, we can all make our current homes more energy efficient – plus save money on bills in the long run too. Here are seven of the most effective ways to reduce your carbon footprint:
This might not seem like an obvious sustainable upgrade, but boilers technology has come a long way in the past decade, and modern day equivalents are much more efficient and will use much less gas than the dated models. You can also think about linking this with other systems such as solar panels and wood boiler stoves; both of which can create carbon neutral hot water.
Since solar panels are the most renewable energy source in this day and age, we can’t write a blog without mentioning them. As you need planning for these, why not combine them with an existing planning application that you are making? These work best on south facing roofs but a south-west or south-east roof will still capture lots of sun, creating hot water or electricity depending on the type of model you select. The initial cost of purchasing a solar system is quite high, but in the long run, your electricity bills will drop and you will feel a good return on your investment.
These are difficult to retrofit to an existing property, but if you’re renovating, this is a great eco-feature to install and they won’t set you back too much on cost. A heat exchange unit takes the warm, damp air from your bathrooms and kitchens and removes the moisture, so it enters your rooms warm and clean. Say good bye to traditional extractor fans which get rid of all of your lovely heated air. Using one of these is a great way to reduce your heating costs, plus improve the air quality in your home and reduce any chances of condensation or mould forming.
Some may regard this as pure luxury and not much else, but it will actually save money from the energy saved in heating the house. Under floor heating runs off your boiler, like a radiator, but unlike radiators they don’t need the water heated at 70°C, in fact water as low as 30°C will warm your room. You can install it in existing rooms as well, and save lots of wall space by uninstalling wall hanging radiators.
The Green Roof
This is a more obvious “green” technique, where sedum plants or wind flower mixes are grown onto a thin layer of soil that sits upon your roof, or a portion of your roof. This type of roof has great insularity properties and is good for insects too. We recently wrote a blog about green roofs which you can read here.
There are lots on the market and some of which can reduce the amount of heat loss to nearly zero. All buildings these days must be built to certain insulation standards, but if you want your project to be super insulated, try sheep’s wool, which has the added bonus of being completely natural, or a multi-layered aluminium and fleece composite.
When undertaking your extension or loft conversation, why not replace the existing windows in the rest of the house at the same time? Victorian properties often have single glazed windows, which not only leak warm air, but also cause issues with condensation which can cause the timber frame to rot. Many companies offer cheap UPVC double glazed windows, but there are more and more companies creating double glazed timber sash windows which keep the character of the original features, whilst improving your level of insulation.
To speak with one of our Architectural Designers about how to make your home more green when building an extension, book in a Site Visit today. Give us a call on 020 7242 5353.