Renovating your home is always a pleasant activity, especially when the end result brings joy and comfort to the whole household. At The Green Optimistic, we would like to show you a few steps that will help you enjoy the benefits well into the future.
Remaining true to ourselves, our tips to a better home are associated with these hidden details that you cannot see with your eyes- warmth, comfort, dryness, and of course much lower energy bills on your newly-renovated home.
So, how do we do this?
1. Focus on insulation. This is a fundamental part of making your home warm, dry and healthy. You have to make sure your ceiling and underfloor insulation is top quality. Then move on to the walls. Remove the internal lining or external cladding, install insulation, and re-line the walls. Replace all recessed downlights with non-recessed light fitttings so that you can insulate safely right up and over the top of them.
2. Identify air-leaks. In most houses, especially the older ones, heat escapes from unused chimneys, holes for plumbing, wiring or recessed downlights in walls, floors, ceilings, floor cracks, badly fitted windows and doors, or wall cavities. Make sure you close all gaps; block unused chimneys, seal holes and put strips on doors and windows. We already advised you to replace recessed downlights, so we assume you already did it. There is also the option of installing air-tightness membranes, but they might be a bit pricy so it is really up to the amount of investment you are planning to make.
3. Fix dampness. This is a very important step. You have to make sure you install a good externally-ventilated extractor fans in wet and steamy home areas. Never vent into the ceiling. Make sure there is no rising damp under the house. And last but not least, avoid unflued gas heaters.
4. Go for double-glazing. These units not only prevent heat from escaping, but also reduce condensation and noise. For best results, pick windows with frames that have insulating properties, such as wood, PVC or thermally-broken aluminium Additionally, pick glass with low-emissivity and inert gas filling between the glass layers.
5. Invest in a good quality heating system. This is an essential step towards an energy efficient home, especially after fixing insulation, air-leaks, dampness and glazing.
6. Make use of free heat from the sun. This can be done effectively by adding a thermal mass, which is always exposed and uncovered by carpets, rugs or other insulation. Concrete floors exposed to direct sunlight are very good in absorbing heat during the day, and releasing it slowly at night. If you have wooden floors, it might be a good idea to consider covering it with 50 mm of concrete, but you have to check with a specialist whether the floors are suitable for such manipulation. Maximum benefit is achieved when the thermal mass is insulated from the outside.
7. Use efficient hot water, lighting and appliances. These guarantee that the running costs of your house are always lower. Focus on the hotwater system, appliances, whiteware and lighting.
And if you are not sure whether the house you’re renovating needs improvements, you can always go through this checklist.