According to The Financial Times, it was found that the ‘number of home-owners deciding to improve their homes rather than move had jumped fivefold in five years’. However, many dismiss any ‘eco-friendly’ house developments as there’s the expectation that materials will be extortionate compared to the standard pricing. But this isn’t always the case! If you’re after a loft-conversion you could be missing a trick with an eco-friendly conversion and here are a few reasons why…
Why Eco Friendly?
Believe it or not, ensuring that your loft conversion is eco-friendly could, in the long run, save you some cash. How? Using recyclable materials such as timber instead of brick is not only hugely beneficial for the environment but it is also better with insulation and air circulation. Better insulation means cheaper utility bills!
This is especially useful for loft conversions that will be converted into extra bedrooms as better air-flow means increased comfort. Moreover, natural materials such as wood are significantly cheaper to buy and install than it is for man-made materials such as cement. Another bonus is that wood is cheaper to repair if anything does go wrong.
In construction, skip rental and waste disposal can actually be quite costly, especially with loft conversions. Eco-friendly loft conversions often means reusing a lot of the existing materials your property already had. If possible, reusing your roof tiles can save you spending loads on brand new materials for the construction.
Instead of using hefty construction materials like concrete and large amounts of synthetic insulation, naturally sourced and organic materials are not only more cost effective but use significantly less space. That means potentially more living space! The extra space could open a new door to the possibilities of what your loft conversion could be, as well as not hurting your bank account so much!
With all the savings you could make on an eco-friendly conversion it’s also worth considering the opportunity for profit with an eco-friendly loft conversion. A cheap loft conversion which doubles as an extra bedroom, study or bathroom is an excellent way to increase property value. Even The Guardian estimates that loft conversions can add up to a 20% increase on the property value. If you’re ever considering selling your property down the line, your eco-friendly loft conversion could earn you some money back!
5 Starting Points To Bring Your Eco-friendly Loft Conversion Ideas To Life
You’ve seen the main benefits of eco-friendly loft conversions but what’s the practical applications of these and will it look good? Let’s find out...
First and foremost, using low energy options are staple in any eco-friendly loft designs. For lighting, low energy LED bulbs last a lot longer than standard bulbs, which means less wastage and lower electricity bills! Solar Panels, although a bit more expensive, are another great idea! The initial installation cost may seem a bit daunting but in the long term, they offer a fantastic payback potential. This will not only provide you with what will eventually be free electricity, but hot water as well!
Double check with your contractors and local council about solar panel installation as you may need planning permission. And check if there’s any government initiatives and incentives as they may even encourage you to use eco-friendly energy options in your property. On top of all of this you can pride yourself in knowing that you have significantly reduced your carbon foot print.
2. Recycle and Upcycle!
Eco-friendly loft conversions can go past just the initial construction of the conversion and all the way to the style and aesthetic of the room! You can really go the full mile with the eco-friendly conversion and save a load on your budget as well. Second hand furniture is a great starting point! Charities such as British Heart Foundation and the YMCA always have a range of everything from TV’s to coffee tables and sofas for a fraction of buying them new from the supplier. An added bonus is that these charities are for a great cause as well!
As previously mentioned, materials are really keystone in making a successful eco-loft conversion. There’s an abundance of ethically sourced and environmentally friendly options available out there, especially for insulation. As crazy as it sounds, sheep’s wool may be the way to go!
Sheep’s wool insulation has many advantages such as its purifying qualities and its ability to breathe. It’s also a lot safer as it is a natural fire retardant due to its high nitrogen content. Sheep’s wool insulation is not only more effective than traditional insulation such as polystyrene it’s also bio-degradable and much less harmful towards the environment.
Windows are another thing to consider. If you’re granted planning permission, you might want to have a think about adding double or triple glazing windows as they may save you a fortune on energy bills and also prevent huge amounts of energy wastage!
Yes! It’s even possible to decorate in an eco-friendly way as you can buy wallpaper made from organic recycled materials. For example, Forest Steward Council (FSC) approved panels and wood are much better for the environment and don’t carry as many toxins as traditional decorative materials. Don’t fancy wallpaper? There’s also plenty of non-toxic and environmentally friendly paints and plastering options which are also great if you’ve got someone with allergies living in the room.
These are all just starting points and for inspiration! There’s no right or wrong way to have an eco-friendly loft conversion and it doesn’t have to be absolute CO2 neutral. As long as you’re taking advantage of sustainable materials or even as little as reusing pre-existing materials or second-hand materials then you’re taking positive steps towards a cheaper and eco-friendly house!
Have fun, try something new, and stay environmentally conscious!