There is a lot of publicity about new houses becoming carbon neutral and the advent of ‘eco-towns’. This is all good, but lowering energy consumption is more important in existing houses, given that there are around 25 million of them and only 150k new builds each year. If you want to reduce your energy bills whilst you are renovating or extending your home, then Fordham Restoration are happy to advise.
Energy prices are only going one way, so we are working on more and more projects where this is a consideration.
What can you do?
Step 1: Stop expensive energy escaping from your home.
Main source of heat loss, 35%
Some houses can have a ‘U value’ as high as 2, current UK building regulations aim for a maximum of 0.25.
Make the insulated cavity between brickwork and blockwork 90mm thick or more.
Fill with a good quality insulation material, see links below.
Consider timber framed walls rather than block.
Accounts for 25% of a homes heat loss.
Can have a U-value of 7. Should aim for 0.13, a big area for energy efficiency gain.
Install at least 270mm insulation in two layers, we install 300mm as standard.
Do not compress the insulation in corners.
Seal attic door to stop draughts.
Accounts for 15% of the homes heat loss.
Should aim for a U-value of 0.20 or lower.
Whether using concrete or timber floors, use insulation material to increase energy efficiency.
1.2 Windows and doors:
If you have single glazed windows or double glazed, which were installed prior to 2002, then they are more than likely to be energy inefficient compared to todays standards.
All windows sold today must have a Window Energy Rating (WER) of C or above. (The WER is a very similar scale to what you will have seen on fridges and freezers.)
As standard, all windows Fordham Restoration fit have an 'A' rating, Argon filled double glazed windows, the glass will have low emissivity (Low-e) coating, which means that it attracts more heat from the sun helping to heat your home.
If you have a listed building or live in a Conservation area and cannot change your windows, you may be able to change the glazed panels within the existing frames.
Beautiful sash windows, which we all love, are unfortunately the most energy inefficient, but there are modern double glazed sash windows on the market and we supply and fit these.
Doors, French doors, Bi-folding doors and Patio doors differ from windows in that there is no official energy rating scale. You can however choose the same glass options, so you are left with the knowledge that you have an energy efficient product.
There is an array of options for glass, we supply and fit from the UK's two largest providers Pilkington and Saint-Gobain.
A note about 'U' values. These simply measure how energy efficient a part of a building is, the lower the value the better the house will retain its heat and therefore the less heat will be wasted, leading in turn to lower heating bills.
If you choose us to build your extension or loft conversion then this new area of your home will be the most energy efficient area. This is because:
1. We only ever use high quality materials from trusted names such as Celetex and Rockwool. These two companies are experts in insulation and whilst of course there are cheaper alternatives, they will cost you more in the longer term.
2. Experience. We install these materials with care and use more of them than what the basic standard requires. For example all of our loft conversions are built with 5 by 2 timber rather than 4 by 2. This allows for 120mm insulation rather than the more common 100mm.
For more information on the topic of Insulation, the Energy Savings Trust has a friendly and useful web site, www.energysavingtrust.org.uk