Collaboration with Abbey Lofts
Most people carry out a loft conversion with the aim of creating additional space, be it an extra bedroom, living space, games room or home office. Whatever the use, there’s many considerations when planning a loft conversion, from lighting to heating and, not least, building regulations approval.
Energy efficiency is included in these building regulations and there are minimum requirements you will need to meet. However, it may make more financial sense to go beyond this to make your home more comfortable to live in and, in the longer term, cheaper to run.
Carrying out any building work or large-scale home improvement project presents an ideal opportunity to review your energy performance certificate and see what other changes you could make to help reduce your energy bills in the future. This could include replacing your old boiler or switching to LED lighting for example.
Guy Beaven is the Managing Director of Abbey Lofts. Here he outlines how you can ensure your loft conversion is energy-efficient:
Roof spaces can be insulated in one of two ways. The cold roof method uses slab foam insulation to fill the space between and over the rafters. Warm roof insulation uses slab foam over the rafters with a cap over the top, followed by the battens and roof tiles. This is only a practical option if the roof tiles have been stripped off, or it could be used with a flat roof dormer loft conversion.
Loft insulation is not only confined to the roof space. It’s important that your walls and floor are also insulated to provide continuity and prevent any cold bridging. As well as keeping heat in and cold air out, loft insulation will also provide sound proofing.
Energy efficient windows
Look for the highest-performing option you can afford. A+ rated double glazing can help you make significant energy savings and triple glazed windows offer even more in the way of energy efficiency and noise reduction. Investing in good quality windows also provides the added benefits of excellent sound-proofing and reduced condensation build up.
Heating your loft conversion
Additional heating, such as radiators with thermostatic valves will ensure an even temperature in your loft space, all year round. More recently there has been an increase in the use of ‘smart home’ devices which enable you to control your heating remotely, from a smartphone or tablet. According to British Gas this can save customers £130 a year.
Let there be light
We all know the positive benefits of natural light for our health and wellbeing. Maximising your home’s natural light can also help to reduce your energy bills and your carbon footprint too.
In a typical home, according to the Carbon Trust, lighting accounts for 20-40 per cent of an annual electricity bill. Harnessing both the illuminating and heating properties of natural light can result in considerable savings. Changing the way you use windows, doors, skylights, paint colours and soft furnishings means you can take advantage of the light and energy the sun provides.
Replacing existing bulbs with LEDs will help reduce your energy bill even further. LED lights immediately switch on to full strength. They don’t have filaments that wear out unlike traditional incandescent bulbs and they can produce light in a variety of colours and without the ‘glare’ of fluorescent tubes.
LEDSs can be as small as 2mm which make them a flexible lighting option for loft conversions where size and space come into play. LEDs are more eco-friendly as they do not contain mercury or emit UV rays. They also emit far less carbon dioxide than a standard incandescent bulb.
Carrying out any building work to your roof or loft space automatically presents a more economical opportunity to install solar panels. With scaffolding already in place for the loft conversion, it means you’re only paying for it once and solar panels can then be installed around your skylights. Once you’re up and running, you can then access the Feed in Tariff, which pays you back for the electricity you generate and put back on the national grid. Solar panels are a long-term investment and, of course, best suited to the right kind of roof. Your lifestyle will play a big part in ensuring a return on your investment – the more you are at home and using electricity, the bigger the savings you’ll make.