With global warming taking a serious turn, everyone must assume their responsibility in playing a part to go green and protect the Earth from more damage. As such, how do we keep loft conversion eco-friendly? Well, eco-friendliness suggests that the processes involved in the manufacture of components and the materials used are not toxic and harmful to the environment. Creating a loft is an environmentally-friendly act in itself as it is essentially an energy-efficient way of utilizing existing living space. It also helps to ease the load off the housing crisis. Otherwise, if left unutilised, the empty space would have been releasing heat into the air, contributing to global warming.
One important factor to take into account when making a loft conversion eco-friendly is the use of sustainable materials. These materials are considered sustainable because they are derived from natural or recycled sources through energy-efficient processes to produce products that have a minimal environmental impact in which they are completely biodegradable at the end of useful life. So let us find out in this article how we can optimise eco-friendliness as we discuss the main materials involved in a loft conversion.
Firstly, we have timber which is environmentally friendly for walls of a loft conversion, especially when sustainably sourced. It is a much better substitute for bricks and concrete. To make sure timber is indeed sustainably sourced, do look out for the Forest Stewardship Council logo which is indicated by PEFC certified labels. In terms of cost, sustainable timber is overall affordable as it can be even cheaper than brick and concrete. Furthermore, using it to build the walls of a loft room allows for good ventilation as it is a breathable material that keeps humidity and condensation low.
We all know the three ‘R’s’ — Recycle, Reuse, and Reduce. These 3 ‘R’s all help to reduce the amount of waste we generate. When we practise any of these three ‘R’s, we conserve natural resources, landfill space, and energy. Now, let us apply the concept here for the roof. Reusing tiles throughout the roof work is a good method to aid recycling as we are optimizing the use of reusable materials. If there is a need to purchase a new roof or tiles, do get recycled products that have eco-friendliness characteristics. Examples include wood fibre and rubber which are sustainably sourced. In addition, it would be cost-efficient to organize plumbing so that rainwater can be collected for toilet flushing.
Insulation is especially important as we need to make sure the loft gets enough heat during winter and that the weather does not get too unbearably hot during summer. Fortunately, some of the existing insulation products are already ideal to keep loft conversion eco-friendly. Some of these highly sustainable materials include:
A highly sustainable product that comes in both treated and untreated for lower risk of fire and mite infestation. It also does a great job of insulations for the different seasons.
Flax and hemp products
Highly effective and cost-efficient, it is also a great source for insulation that is resistant towards insects, fungal and fire.
Usually made from newsprints, it is blown directly into boarding for walls, floor and ceiling lining.
Made from recycled wood products, it is efficient at insulation and ventilation, as it is a breathable material that keeps humidity and condensation low.
To reiterate, it is also important to ensure that the room gets to cool down during summer. Some other ways to achieve this through energy efficiency methods include solar energy and energy-rated windows.
Since a loft conversion involves reconstructing the roof, it is also an appropriate timing to consider equipping solar panels and solar energy to the whole house. Despite its exorbitant cost, this loss is only short term. The benefits override the costs in the long term as solar energy means saving costs on electricity bills monthly. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you may want to make use of solar energy along with a loft conversion as it combines eco-friendliness and energy efficiency.
Moving on, we have to understand the importance of windows in a loft conversion. Windows have two major uses: one is to let natural light into the house, and the other is to provide a view of what’s happening outside. However, beyond these, it is also crucial in establishing energy-efficient insulation between the house and elements outdoors. Hence, we would suggest the instalment of energy-rated windows which is excellent in quality and eco-efficient glazing. It offers a co-efficiency rating which allows and reduces heat gain from the sun. Besides, it also helps to maintain good airflow and makes the most of natural light which means there is not much of a need for artificial lighting.
Sustainable construction inside the room
As we aim to keep the whole loft conversion eco-friendly, we should then also make sure it applies to the construction of the room. Firstly, consider using sustainable timbers for furniture and built-in storage. Next, remember to consider eco-friendly lighting such as long-lasting LED bulbs as not only does it serve its function in lighting dim areas, it is also extremely energy and cost-efficient in keeping electrical usage minimal. Not to mention the decor aspect, the decorating process can also be kept environmentally friendly. This is because the market offers a variety of eco-options which include recycled wallpaper and FSC approved wood panels to maximize energy efficiency for thicker insulation of the room. For those who choose to do some painting, do opt for non-toxic and organic paint as they are eco and family-friendly. Furthermore, if the loft is converted for a bathroom, do consider methods to save water and energy by getting the appropriate fixtures for toilet flushers and showers.
Maintaining focus with the right approach
Last but not least, to conclude the overall focal point of this article, to fully achieve eco-friendly loft conversions, make sure everyone involved in the loft conversion always consider the best environmentally friendly methods. This can be done by checking if existing materials can be reused so that the need to repurchase new materials can be reduced. Also, always do your research and ask for more details regarding the materials and if it is sustainably sourced. With that, this is the end of the article, we wish you all the best in your loft conversion journey!