Every aspect of your loft conversion is rooted in the design. This determines how green your finished loft will be, as well as the size, materials, and even the energy sources if you would like to review these at the same time as your loft conversion.
Working to GreenSPEC standards
The GreenSPEC PASS review panel look at 14 aspects of every building material to assess how green they are, and therefore how green your building design will be. We work with a range of suppliers to use products and materials that adhere to GreenSPEC standards.
To meet all of the criteria, a green building material must:
- Conserve natural resources – this includes using renewable resources or materials that are abundantly found on the planet.
- Use natural resources efficiently – this includes using materials that require less mass to perform, using durable materials that don’t need to be replaced often, and using products that are easily reused or recycled once they have fulfilled their purpose.
- Ensure emissions are non-hazardous – products need to be free of toxic chemicals whenever possible.
- Have low embodied energy – meaning that products you use should require less energy to create or use renewable energy sources during their manufacture.
- Use water efficiently to reduce water consumption.
- Save energy –through efficient use of energy as well as good insulation.
- Use transport efficiently – the carbon footprint of your build includes transportation, which has a huge impact on the environment. Our local trademen help to minimise transportation, as does using local materials or efficient transport strategies.
- Use materials that have an EPD – Environmental Product Declarations are reports on the impact of a product throughout its life stages, from creation to disposal.
- Use materials that show the manufacturer’s standards – we work with a range of market-leading suppliers to ensure that your green building materials are all of a high standard.
- Show competence – both in the design and final product.
- Demonstrate performance – this ensures that the product works the way that the manufacturers claim.
- Enhance other materials – this means that you must look at the overall build and how the material contributes to it.
- Be accompanied by labels, endorsements, or accolades – these depend on the material, where it’s sourced, and what the properties/processes are. Any labels or endorsements must be from third parties and not the manufacturer themselves.
- Be created by a manufacturer that’s committed to Corporate Social Responsibility
Not all of your building materials need to meet these standards, depending on how green you would like your loft conversion to be. If you would like further information about GreenPass, or want to know whether a particular material meets these standards, just ask us during the planning process.
Building a Passivhaus loft
Passivhaus is one of the most famous ways of taking a ‘fabric first’ approach to green building design. It involves using as little heating or cooling as possible to maintain an ambient temperature of around 20C.
There are 5 main aspects to designing a green Passivhaus loft; thermal bridge free design, good quality windows, ventilation with heat recovery (to help air circulate without losing heat), quality insulation, and airtight construction.
If you would like to take a fabric first approach, or you would like to build a Passivhaus loft, let us know and we will ensure that these requirements are met. This is a very popular choice for clients who would like to have a very green build, without having to add renewable energy sources to their home.
Renewable energy sources
As many loft conversions include work to the roof, a number of our clients have chosen to use this opportunity to invest in renewable energy sources for their home. The most popular of which is solar panels, which really help boost your green credentials. These help harness solar energy to power your home, and may even let you make a profit by selling some energy back to the power grid. Whether your home is suitable depends on the slopes of your roof and a number of other factors.
Other sources of renewable energy include:
- Wind power (turbines)
- Geothermal (steam) power
- Hydro power (if you have a water source near your home)
Design and environmental damage
An eco-friendly loft is designed to minimise environmental damage at every stage of the build. There are a range of impacts, beginning with the manufacture of building materials, through to their functionality and then disposal safety. We will discuss all of these aspects with you at the design stage, and build the perfect loft conversion for your requirements.