Creating a more energy efficient home is high up on the priority list for today’s homeowners. While the prospect of implementing a number of energy saving measures may seem a little daunting and costly, carrying out the necessary changes now will reap both immediate and ongoing rewards.
Here are just a few of the energy efficiency fixes you may want to apply to your period home.
Replace roof insulation
Insulating some parts of a period property can be a challenge, but when it comes to roof insulation it’s very similar to in a more modern house. This means that replacing roof insulation should be the first place to start when it comes to improving an older property’s energy efficiency.
In many cases, an older property will have no roof insulation at all so installing some will deliver immediate results. Installing roof insulation is relatively straightforward, and it is estimated that it can save you up to 25% on your annual energy bill.
If you live in a Victorian property, you may have suspended flooring throughout the house, creating more draughts. To help reduce draughts in this area you may want to consider installing under floor insulation.
Double Glazing Existing Windows
For period homeowners double glazing timber windows, where not restricted by planning regulations, can help slash the cost of heating bills and make the most of existing energy usage within your home.
Creating a space of insulating air between two panes of glass can make your windows a lot more energy efficient, making a huge difference to your home.
The benefits of installing double glazing are numerous and include improved heat retention, sound insulation and more. As a result it is easy to see why many people choose to install double glazed windows in their homes.
Draught proofing is one of the best and most affordable ways of saving money and improving the efficiency of your home. Draught proofing your home prevents cold air from getting in, which consequently relieves the pressure on the boiler.
Although draughts let fresh air into your home and can help to prevent damp, they also let cold air in and warm air out. So, if you’ve got your heating on and a draught in a door or window frame, then you could be watching your money fly out the window.
Draught proofing involves making sure these gaps are plugged and that warm air is not escaping. This means you will use less energy heating your home and it will feel warmer.
Research by English Heritage found that even a simple minor repair on a 2 x 2 timber sash window brought about significant reductions in heat loss and draughts. With a combination of a few simple repairs, the windows can easily be brought up to modern building regulations standards.
The key findings of the test showed that mending cracks and gaps can reduce the amount of heat lost and air flow around the windows. The air infiltration through a sash window can be reduced by as much as 86% by simple sash window draught proofing.
Secondary Double Glazing
Secondary double glazing for sash windows allows you to preserve the look of the windows, improve insulation and stop draughts during the colder months. While there is some secondary glazing that you can fit yourself, it always pays to get a professional to fit it for you. They will do a better job, ensuring that a good seal prevents draughts. They will also disguise the secondary glazing to prevent the appearance of the windows being spoiled.
Some secondary glazing can also be removed, so it can be taken down during the summer months.
Secondary double glazing involves adding another sheet of glass or Perspex to the window to create an insulating section of air. Few things insulate as well as air and tests have proven that simple secondary glazing can reduce heat loss by as much as 60 per cent.
Blinds, Curtains and Shutters
Interior shutters and thick curtains will often be enough to prevent heat loss through windows in the winter. Make sure they are thick and made of the correct material and you’ll be amazed at the difference they can make. Having several layers of curtains is also a good idea, as it will act as an insulator against heat loss.
Specially created to fit neatly around windows and reduce heat loss, heat loss prevention blinds can reduce the amount of warm air that escapes through single glazed windows, reducing your fuel bills and making your home more efficient.
Installing New Windows
If you decide to replace your timber windows with new double glazed timber windows, there are a number of things to bear in mind to ensure the new windows are as energy efficient as possible.
The window U value e.g. 1.4W/(m²·K) measures how well heat is transferred from your window in or out of the building. The lower the U-value the better the heat conservation. As an example while a single glazed window has a U-value of 5.7 this drops down to 2.9 for a standard double glazed window – even without a coating or argon gas in the cavity.
How well it keeps out the wind: The effective heat loss due to air penetration as L e.g. 0.01 W/(m²·K). The lower the air infiltration rate the less heat is lost through leaky windows.
How well your glazing allows the sun to heat your home: Solar panels aren’t the only way to make use of the rays of sunshine that stream through our home. Solar heat gain (or g values) demonstrate how much solar heat passes through your window. The higher the percentage, the more solar heat passes through, effectively helping to heat your home up for free.
According to the Energy Saving Trust low emissivity (Low-E) glass is the most energy efficient for double glazing. Here a metal oxide coating, often on one of the internal panes beside the gap, allows heat and light in while restricting the amount of heat that can escape.
Double glazing gases: Argon, xenon, or krypton between sheets of glass are often a marker of very energy efficient windows. Because these gases are denser than air, they provide an additional layer of thermal efficiency.
By using timber window specialists to replace your timber windows, you also won’t have to sacrifice the appearance of your period property. With bespoke double glazed sash windows, your home can keep its period features and become more energy efficient.