If you’re considering taking on a renovation project you will have certainly, at some point, been faced with its carbon footprint and how best to retrofit your home. But what exactly do we mean by that?
It is essentially about retaining the characteristics or charm of a building, whilst updating the functional side of it, so that it is fit for purpose by today’s standards.
Here are ten of Carbon Saving Group’s top tips for creating a greener renovation:
1.Reclaim and reuse
This might seem obvious, but where possible, if you can reuse building materials or repurpose them in another part of the property this has a substantial impact on the supply chain as well as environment. If you cannot reuse items from your own property, you might find something more suitable from a reclamation yard or another demolition site.
2. Choose natural materials
If you cannot reclaim or reuse materials, the next best thing to create a home that is eco-friendly is to choose sustainable natural materials. This can be taken a step further if you are adding an extension to the existing structure. Check out sustainable flooring options as well as multitasking internal wall insulation and natural lime and clay plaster.
3. Insulation upgrade
The best time to update insulation is when you are ripping out old décor and starting over. If you plan to install a renewable home energy system, its efficiency will largely depend upon what provisions you have put in place when insulating the property. The loft is not the only place to consider, if you are renovating an older property with suspended flooring you could invest in underfloor insulation to help prevent heat escaping.
4. Install renewable heating
If you are looking to invest in a home heating system that will stand the test of time and ultimately save on energy consumption, an air source heat pump is one of the best options available. The low carbon system is powered by 75 per cent renewable energy extracted from the air and 25 per cent electricity. Compared to a G-rated gas boiler it will save 6000 kg of CO2 a year. *
5. Double or triple glazing
Ten per cent of energy is lost through windows, so updating and replacing with the latest energy efficient models is a good place to start reducing energy consumption. Look for the best thermal performance by checking the U-value to ensure you get the best solution for your property.
6. Invest in solar panels
Creating your own electricity through solar panels is a great way to reduce your own energy bills at the same time as your carbon footprint. A typical system contains around 15 panels and generates DC (direct current) electricity which is converted to AC (alternating current) through an inverter. An unshaded, south facing roof is ideal for maximum electrical output, you can still benefit with an east or west facing roof but might require more panels to generate an optimum output.
7. Underfloor heating
If you’re considering an air source heat pump as part of your renovation, underfloor heating goes hand in hand. It operates at a low temperature by circulating warm water through a network of cross-linked pipes under your flooring. Perfect for ground floor renovations and creating the perfect balance between low carbon heating and a comfortable year-round ambiance.
8. Source eco-friendly finishes
When it comes to decorating your new abode, there are lots of green products available across the market. A few to start with are, water-soluble eco-paints that use plant oils and resins to form the solution and minerals or plant dyes to create the pigmentation. Through to sustainable wallpapers using hessian, cotton and wool, or environmentally friendly varnishes and waxes for wood finishes.
9. Update your heating controls and thermostat
Once you have installed a new heating system, don’t forget to add smart controls. If you reduce the temperature by one degree, it generally equates to a ten per cent energy saving overall. If you add in the ability to turn the heat off from rooms you are not using, or when you suddenly need to work late, you can reduce both your energy bills and carbon emissions.
10. Preserve water
If you’re considering recycling water, a rainwater harvesting system could be the best solution. It collects rainfall via a drainpipe, filters out the debris and stores it in a water tank, ready to use in your toilet cistern, washing machine and garden.
* Stats and facts are taken from the Energy Saving Trust and are correct at time of print.