Tag Archive for: deep retrofit

Is it time to downsize your house?

The Pros and Cons of downsizing your home

 

 

 

What is Downsizing?

Whether you’re an empty nester, facing retirement or just tired of a lot of unnecessary upkeep and hassle, moving to a smaller home is a great option for homeowners. It’s a great choice for anyone looking for a change. Even better if you struggling to keep up with the costs related to running a large home.

“So should I downsize?”

Recent data has shown that Ireland has one of the highest rates of under-occupied homes in Europe. This means that downsizing is a viable option for a number of Irish homeowners. Maybe you are eager for a change? Maybe you simply want to start a new phase in your life? In this case, downsizing can be a great opportunity to reduce or eliminate debt or obtain the home you’ve always dreamed of.

Of course, it all depends on personal circumstances, but it is always wise to act sooner rather than later if you are thinking about downsizing.

The Pros and Cons of downsizing

The Pros of downsizing

There are so many positive reasons to downsize.

The most obvious being releasing the equity (reducing/eliminating the mortgage) in your home. This means money is freed up to fund your later years. With inflation costs expected to remain high next year, downsizing will also help to ease some of the financial burden, especially around energy costs.

Another clear benefit of downsizing is being able to move closer to family or friends or perhaps closer to amenities. A smaller, more manageable house with less maintenance and clutter is also of enormous benefit. 

Think of how your life can be simplified when you’re spending less time trying to find things! Not to mention the smaller bills, conserving energy and the extra time to pursue more important and enjoyable activities.

“In a nutshell, downsizing is a great chance to improve your quality of life.”

 

The Cons of downsizing

Downsizing your home does not come without risks. The desire to move closer to friends and families can be hamstrung, simply by a lack of available properties in the area. You may want to remain in the same location. Yet changes in the property market might make it difficult to obtain a smaller house within the same location. 

The prospect of moving house or downsizing can seem so daunting. There are so many things to think of – from the initial decision to go to an estate agent through to the final selection of fixtures and finishes. The whole process can feel like a mountain to climb. However, downsizing shouldn’t be stressful if handled correctly. Instead of being a demanding task, with the right help, downsizing and renovating can be an enjoyable, exciting, and invigorating project.

At RENOVA we specialise in being a design and build company with a focus on the Deep Retrofit of older houses. A Deep Retrofit involves stripping back to the essentials and re-building a highly insulated, air-tight, well-ventilated, and energy-efficient home. Therefore, if you are thinking about downsizing, don’t disregard the ‘doer-uppers’. Indeed, by considering houses that need renovation, you will be opening up more possibilities and opportunities to find the perfect house in a great location. Doer-uppers can be adapted to your needs and made into the home you’ve always dreamed of

What to consider before Downsizing?

Here are the 5 essential points you need to consider when approaching downsizing

1. Consider your reasons for downsizing? Is it necessary, are you happy about it, or is there another solution?

Have you thought through your reasons why? Are you looking to sell your larger house for increased equity? Is the smaller house in the area affordable? Will you be able to stay in the area you want to live in? Are you worried about your increasing household costs?  Really think about the factors, pros and cons before deciding whether to downsize or not.

2. Look for a reliable company that will help oversee the whole project

Downsizing especially to an older property comes with its own set of challenges. With a focus on carbon emissions and the environment, it is essential that all new homes are up to a certain standard. Unfortunately, it means a lot of older houses are not energy efficient. This could lead to a serious downgrade in quality when moving into an older smaller home. To give a house a modern update takes time and effort and, in many cases, requires a deep retrofit. Because none of these works should be done piecemeal, its best to find a trustworthy construction company to oversee the whole project.

Thats exactly what we do.

RENOVA acts has one point of contact to oversee everything during the renovation of your home covering everything from planning your budget to your legal requirements.

3. See what grants and tax incentives are available to you to undertake any works

The SEAI currently offers a number of grants for homeowners in a drive to get more energy efficient retrofit work completed. Deep Retrofits can be quite costly. Understanding what grants, you can avail of will give you an insight into whether downsizing and renovating a new home is the option for you

4. Get a full understanding of the renovation needs of the new house you are downsizing to

Older houses can be brought up to passive house standards through a Deep Retrofit. This helps lower the energy bills resulting in a warmer healthier home.

5. How sustainable is your new home going to be?

Everyone is certainly more climate conscious, and each industry is doing their bit to lower carbon emissions. This means it’s important to look at the environmental impact of your new home. Some dream houses might no longer be suitable based on our current energy saving requirements. This means the cost of bringing them up to standard might be well outside your original budget.

Downsizing can be daunting for some who aren’t looking forward to change, but there are so many advantages and opportunities. Saving on bills, more manageable household tasks and new décor and opportunities of a new area, means downsizing can be incredibly exciting. And if you buy a cheaper property than the one you sold, that extra money can go a long way to helping you enjoy life in your new home!

So, why not embark upon a new challenge? Undertake a different project, not just a purchase, and get involved in the whole design and build process. Unleash your inner creative designer, invigorate yourself and enjoy watching your renovation project come together.

Why not go to your homepage and look at our 6 stages for inbuilt success.

5 Reasons to Renovate rather than extend your home

When it comes to our homes, we often think we need ‘more’. However, making the best out of something we already have is often a more sensible and worthwhile approach. If you are looking for more space but don’t want to move, the decision between renovating and extending can be a difficult one. Should you extend your home or should you look into renovating?

In this blog post, we look at 5 reasons to renovate over extending your home

DO YOU ACTUALLY NEED EXTRA SPACE

All too often, when it comes to home renovations, we think we should ‘extend’. We presume that we need the extra space. Much of the time we don’t actually need to extend. What’s achievable within the space you have? We often don’t require as much space as we think we do. Wanting that extension is usually motivated by a dissatisfaction with the interior layout, piles of clutter and chaos or perhaps an old, dated kitchen. The result can be a fantastic new kitchen/diner and extra space (for the clutter in many cases!) but unfortunately the same collection of dark, dreary, cold, energy-inefficient rooms elsewhere in the house. And where is the logic in that?

RENOVATIONS CAN BE LESS HASSLE

It’s sensible to look closely at the space you have. How we can improve it? before rushing to building an extension. Sometimes just knocking down a wall or adding a window can have a profound impact upon the overall space.

RENOVATING CAN HAVE MORE FLEXIBILITY

If you do decide to optimise your existing home, you won’t have to apply for planning permission either. Plus, you won’t be encroaching upon any outdoor living space. Think about all the the money you’ll save – building an extension is expensive and will add to the cost of heating and maintaining your home. Not to mention the extra space to clean!

RENOVATIONS CAN MODERNIZE A HOME

Anyone who is considering investing in their home and improving its energy-efficiency should be aware of the concept of ‘Deep Retrofit’. At RENOVA, a Deep Retrofit involves stripping back to the bare blocks and timbers and re-building a highly insulated, air-tight, well-ventilated and consequently, energy-efficient home.  This ‘stripping back’ process presents the perfect opportunity to re-plan the layout of a house that hasn’t been functioning well.

Deep Retrofit takes an holistic view of the entire building – it links together all the retrofit elements of your home renovation.

A ‘Deep Retrofit’ is a single solution as opposed to a collection of solutions. There are multiple elements to a Deep Retrofit approached in sequence and never in an ad-hoc fashion.  Ventilation goes hand-in-hand with insulation. Air-tightness is incorporated into dry-lining and plumbing pipework must be installed beneath the floor before it is insulated.  A home renovation without Deep Retrofit would be as a missed opportunity. A lost chance to make your home more comfortable, warm, cosy, draught-free, well-ventilated and, of course, energy-efficient.

RENOVATIONS CAN BE MORE ENERGY EFFICIENT

Under the new building regulations all new houses are extremely energy- efficient, comfortable and healthy – both for the occupant and the environment. A Deep Retrofit will transform existing houses that are cold, draughty and badly designed, giving them the same standards of energy-efficiency.

By having an energy-efficient home you’ll actually be doing your bit to help the environment and reduce Climate Change. According to the Centre for Climate Change and Sustainable Energy Policy,

“High-efficiency Retrofits are the key to a low-emission building future.”

A quarter of the energy consumed is used in the home.  That’s more than in industry or by cars.

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, there are many advantages when it comes to choosing renovation over an extension when it comes to gaining extra space inside your home. Think twice, therefore, before presuming you need to extend your home. It makes abundant sense instead to make the most of the space you already have and to make it as energy-efficient and comfortable as possible. In financial terms, not only will the value of your home increase, you’ll also be saving on fuel bills and mitigating the impact of future fuel price increases.

 

 

 

Self-build Renovation-What to consider

people putting wet concrete down

Self-Build home renovation projects can be challenging to manage, especially Deep Retrofit’s. Maybe you are a first-time buyer? Or maybe you have decided to downsize your house. Either way a Deep Retrofit has multiple moving component parts to arrange.

Each component should dove tail neatly into the next to ensure a successful retrofit/renovation.

Taking on something like this on your own can be a struggle. Unless you have experience in construction management it can be hard to succeed. 

The drawbacks to doing a Self-Build Renovation

Construction continues to be the one industry in which people presume that they can give it a go themselves and succeed. Without experience, oversights and delays will occur and they will inevitably cost you money. Costs mount up for numerous simple things that you wouldn’t even have considered at first.

For example,

You hire a tradesman. But you leave them standing around with nothing to do for a day or two. You will still have to be pay them for those unproductive days. Simple things like not ordering the correct quantity of materials, or even just forgetting to have the portaloo removed on time.

These are all Slippage and slippage costs money. 

If you don’t have experience in construction management, you’ll most likely fail to successfully manage a self-build renovation project.

Not only will the quality of the finished product not be as good, but you’ll suffer budget over-runs too.

Should I project manage my own Self -Build?

Personally, we recommend that no-one ever attempt to renovate by direct labour. Renovation works and especially deep retrofits are complex. They require close co-ordination and co-operation between tradesmen and suppliers.

There are a host of jobs and tasks that are not the responsibility of any particular trade. These are known as ‘builders’ works’. They will become your concern if you decide to give direct labour a shot. Buildings renovated by direct labour usually reflect the fact that there is no experienced individual in charge. One with an interest in overall the finished product. Builders and tradesmen are accustomed to operating under the instruction of a project manager, normally an architect.

Three reasons to hire a project manager

Reason one

An experienced project manager will consider all the elements of your renovation, using experience, expertise, and joined-up thinking to stitch them all together. The project manager will care about your project and the quality of your completed deep retrofit.

Reason Two

For health and safety reasons it is now a legal requirement to appoint a competent person to plan and oversee your project. It is essential therefore to ensure that the company you engage is competent. They must be fully insured with public liability, employers’ liability, and all risks insurance cover. If the contractor you engage is not competent and properly insured and an accident happens on site, then you may find yourself badly exposed.

Reason Three

Carrying out a survey to establish the condition of your existing building is also of utmost importance. This helps minimise the likelihood of ‘nasty surprises’ during the job. By getting a survey done you avoid wasting time considering unworkable solutions such as, for example, underfloor heating, which may not function in your building due to its original condition.

Prepare your own Brief

Ok, you have decided to go with an experienced project manager,

Great,

Now it’s time to prepare a clear brief. Competent and experienced people still need you to tell them what you want to achieve.

This is ‘the brief’.

Be very clear about what you want to achieve why you want to achieve these it.

What is your primary motivation for doing the project?

Is your house uncomfortable or cold?

Are your fuel bills too high. Perhaps your house is draughty or suffers with condensation?

Your main priority may be to transform a badly laid out, old-fashioned and dated house that doesn’t fit your family’s needs?

Make a definitive list of all the elements of your home that don’t work well for you. Then make sure that the final plan for your house solves as many of these issues as possible. Don’t lose sight of these priorities during the design process.

Finally, your finances should also be arranged well in advance. The budget is an essential component of any plan because it dictates the scope of works that can be carried out and informs you design decisions. Seek professional advice on how to achieve your goals within your budget.

So should I do my own self-build?

Self-builds and in particular Renovations can be tricky and costly affairs to get right. There is a presumption that with some YouTube video’s and graft it is and cheaper to go it alone. For some people they can achieve success but more often than not it can end up being a drain on your resources and time with the resulting house not matching the one you dreamed of.

Instead seek the help of an experienced project manager and team. Be well-organised beforehand and clearly articulate what you want from the renovation. This way you will avoid the stress of making important decisions under pressure while the works are ongoing on site. This will also greatly speed up the whole building process and you’ll be able to occupy your dream home sooner and avoid any extra costs.

Tel: 01 2021122

Email: info@renova.ie

5 reasons renovating shouldn’t be stressful

renovations shouldn't be stressful

 

Making the decision to renovate your home can be a daunting task. There are so many things to consider, from the scope of the project to your budget. Deciding the smallest details down to what door handle to choose can be challenging even for the most experienced professionals. But renovations shouldn’t be stressful. In fact, with a little planning and forethought, renovating can be a fun and rewarding experience. Here are 5 reasons why:

ITS AN OPPORTUNITY TO GET CREATIVE

This is your chance to really let your creativity shine. Renovations give you a chance to customize and update your space. Maybe to better suit where you are in life now.  This can involve adding new features or design elements or reconfiguring the layout of a space. The process of renovating a space can be an opportunity for homeowners to be imaginative. A chance to come up with unique solutions to problems or challenges they are facing with their existing home. Renovations can also be a chance for people to express their personal style. A chance to create a living space that reflects their tastes and interests.

IT CAN SAVE YOU MONEY IN THE LONG RUN

Although renovations can be costly upfront, they can actually save you money in the long run. Upgrading the insulation, windows, or HVAC systems can reduce your energy bills, saving you money in the long run.  If you have old or malfunctioning plumbing or electrical systems, it can be more cost-effective to repair or replace it during a renovation rather than waiting for it to fail completely.  Beyond the financial savings, a renovation can improve the functionality of your home, increasing your overall enjoyment of living there.

REMEMBER, ITS YOUR SPACE

This is an opportunity for you to create the home (or room) that YOU want. So don’t get too caught up in what other people might think — focus on what would make YOU happy. A renovation is a chance to have your home reflect you rather then it being the shell you moved into when you first purchased your home ​

SET REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS

Remember, Renovations shouldn’t be stressful. They can be an exciting and fulfilling process, but it’s important to note that they can also be time-consuming and sometimes unpredictable. It’s common for there to be some setbacks or challenges that arise during the renovation process, but setting realistic expectations can help you stay calm and focused. When you’re expecting some bumps in the road, it’s easier to roll with the punches and not get overly anxious or frustrated. By keeping a realistic outlook, you’ll be better equipped to handle any hiccups that come your way and enjoy the renovation process to the fullest. So, it’s important to keep a positive attitude and remind yourself of the end goal, knowing that the renovation will ultimately bring you closer to the home of your dreams.

YOU DONT HAVE TO TAKE IT ON ALL ON YOUR OWN

The unique selling point for hiring a renovation company (like Renova) is that we will take care of everything. Remember, Renovations shouldn’t be stressful. We cover everything from the initial consultation to the BER ASSESSMENT, through to the removal of your possessions into storage, the complete building works and even down to the final clean! This in turn means that you can focus on the creative elements of your home and you can be sure that you can get back to your home faster to enjoy your newly-renovated, warm, cosy house sooner.

Renovations can be a great way to improve your home but they can also be very time consuming and difficult to manage. With some assistance and a positive outlook, however, they doesn’t have to be as stressful. If you’re considering a renovation, reach out to us. We would be more than happy to help you through the process and avoid any unnecessary stress.

Web: www.renova.ie

Tel: 01 2021122

Email: info@renova.ie

Project Management for Renovations. What is it?

 

 

The Importance of Management in Construction

 

Construction projects are complex and require a great deal of planning, coordination, and communication. The importance of good project management in renovations should not be underestimated. In this blog post, we will discuss five reasons why effective project management is essential when managing any type renovation or deep retrofit.

WHAT IS PROJECT MANAGEMENT?

Project Management can be defined as ‘The discipline of initiating, planning, executing, controlling and closing the work of a team to achieve specific goals and meet specific criteria’. The responsibilities of a project manager in construction include

  • Defining project objectives and plans, including outlining the scope, budgeting, scheduling and setting performance standards.
  • Maximizing the efficient use of resources by procuring labour, materials, and equipment according to the planned schedule.
  • Coordinating and controlling the planning, design, estimation, contracting, and construction process to properly implement various operations.

Building projects can be quite stressful and challenging – even for seasoned project management professionals. There are multiple factors to consider in any retrofit or renovation. From finding the best quote to making important decisions -a project manager is an essential link. They ensure the smooth running of your building project. Efficient project management will ensure that the client receives a finished product that meets their expectations.

WHAT IS MAKES A SUCCESSFUL PROJECT MANAGER?

The importance of good project management in Renovations requires a wide range of qualities and skills. Projects must be finished on time and within budget. Projects need to adhere to specific building regulations. Strong communication skills are vital, as is the ability to make decisions, problem solve and resolve conflicts. Time management, knowledge of health and safety and experience of the building process – these are all necessary prerequisites in a manager.

The benefits of working with RENOVA is that we plan, budget, design, and monitor costs during your renovation project. We offer a single point of contact for our clients throughout every renovation. We are your project manager.

PLANNING IS KEY

Early investment in planning, programming and design can deliver benefits and avoid unnecessary costs and delays. The first part of our project management process at RENOVA is agreeing upon the budget. As Chartered Quantity Surveyors we will adhere to this budget. The control of costs requires continual cost management and monitoring throughout the building process.

Renovation work and in particular deep retrofit, requires good project management. Deep Retrofits have several components parts that have to be ‘stitched together’ for a successful build. For example – air-tightness is incorporated into the dry-lining, ventilation goes hand in hand with insulation, plumbing pipework is installed underneath the floor before it is insulated. The sequence of events is specific and cannot be successfully deviated from. There are also a host of jobs and tasks in any building project that are not the responsibility of any particular trade – preparatory works, purchasing materials, ordering skips, filling holes, tidying up, and snagging to name but a few. These jobs are known as ‘builders’ works’ and will become your responsibility if you decide to build by ‘direct labour’.

AVOID ANY RISK

Your project manager should be fully insured with Public Liability, Employer’s Liability and All Risks Insurance cover. If an accident occurs on site and they are not insured, then you, the homeowner are liable. It is also now legally required of clients to notify the Health and Safety Authority if any work is being carried out on a private, domestic dwelling. The client is obliged to keep a Safety File for the duration of the build. It goes without saying that RENOVA is a fully competent and insured company. We employ our own staff to carry out the works, but subcontractors are needed we ensure that they are reputable, fully registered and insured. As your project manager, we will notify the Health and Safety Authority on your behalf and supply you with the Safety File.

The 8 principles of deep retrofit

 

underfloor heating

 

At RENOVA we believe that ‘Form Follows Function’!. ‘Form Follows Function’ is a simple principle which means that the shape of a building should primarily be based upon its intended function or purpose. At RENOVA we believe that the primary function or purpose of a home is to be comfortable. A comfortable home should be warm, well-ventilated and free from draughts. Through measures including air-tightness, good insulation and high-performance glazing, we aim to improve your home from the inside out. Through Deep Retrofit, your house can become warm and comfortable both day and night, with minimal heating – and cooler during hot summer weather. In this blog post, we will look The 8 principles of a deep retrofit

DEEP RETROFIT EXPLAINED

Deep retrofit involves applying sustainable principles to an existing building to decrease environmental impact, maximize efficiency, and reduce costs. With this comprehensive method of overhauling your home’s infrastructure, you can create a living environment that is comfortable, healthy, and future-proofed.

 

                                                                                                                                                        THE 8 PRINCIPLES OF A DEEP RETROFIT
1.WALL INSULATION

Improve wall insulation in a number of ways;

Insulated dry-lining internally, blown-in cavity-wall insulation or external insulation with render finish.

 

8 principles of a deep retrofit wall insulation

 

2.ROOF INSULATION

8 principles of a deep retrofit roof insulation

Up to 30% of heat can escape through your roof – so a relatively small investment in roof insulation will yield great returns.

For even greater efficiency your old attic hatch can be replaced with a draught-proof insulated attic door.

 

3.FLOOR INSULATION

8 principles of a deep retrofit floor insulation

 

By insulating the ground floor, heat will be retained. Air-tight membranes and tapes will eliminate unwanted draughts.

Underfloor heating will give a feeling of warmth and comfort under foot.

 

4.HEATING

8 principles of a deep retrofit heating systems

Choose from energy-efficient condensing boilers, heat pumps and renewable energy/biomass appliances.

You can decrease energy usage by installing intelligent heating controls and by creating separate heating zones.

 

5.LIGHTING

8 principles of a deep retrofit lighting

The introduction of low energy LED lights means huge developments have been made in energy-efficient lighting.

You will improve the lighting quality and save up to 80% in the cost of lighting your home.

 

6.AIRTIGHTNESS

8 principles of a deep retrofit airtightness

Air tight construction retains warm air and keeps cold air kept out.

 A ‘blower door test’ is carried out to check air-tightness.

 

    7.VENTIALTION

8 principles of a deep retrofit ventilation

A demand-controlled mechanical ventilation system that can automatically sense when it needs to operate is usually the best option to ventilate your home. If budget allows you might upgrade to Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery.

 

8.MOISTURE CONTROL

Moisture Control example

 

Install vapour barriers.

This protects  building structures from penetrating moisture and dampness.

Unchecked moisture penetration can lead to mould growth on your walls and ceilings.

 

A deep retrofit can be a great investment for your home. So, not only will it make your home more comfortable, but it can also help future-proof your home against rising energy costs and climate change. To learn more about Deep Retrofit and how it can benefit your home, contact us today. We answer all your questions and we will set you on the path to a more sustainable home.

 

Home renovation – budget wisely

how to budget wisely for a home renovation

When it comes to upgrading your home, the first thing that many people think of is budget. Whether you are looking at a small update or a full-on Deep Retrofit, it’s important to plan ahead and budget wisely so that you can ensure the project goes according to plan.  In this blog post we will take an in-depth look at how you can budget wisely for a renovation. No matter the size or scope – its important to take into account anticipated expenses as well as hidden costs.

WHAT TO PRIORITISE

First of all, it is very important to establish your priorities. Be clear about what you want to achieve from your home renovation. What are the main reasons for your project? Are you uncomfortable or cold in your home or are your fuel bills excessive? Perhaps your house is damp or draughty? Or your main concern may be a badly designed, old-fashioned home that doesn’t work well for you and your family. A great starting point in any home renovation project is to make a list of all the aspects of your home that don’t work well for you.

HAVE A PLAN

Be sure about what you want to achieve. This means that all decisions can be finalised well before your home renovation begins. When you are well-organised beforehand you will avoid the stresses of making important decisions under pressure while the works on site are ongoing. This will speed up the whole building process. You will be able to occupy your home sooner which in turn prevents extra costs.

EXTEND OR RENOVATE

Don’t rush into building an extension. Here in Ireland, we tend to ‘extend’ as part of a home renovation. This is motivated by a dissatisfaction with the internal layout. The result can be a great new kitchen and dining room but the same old collection of cold, dark rooms elsewhere in the house. Extensions are expensive. Many people don’t consider that they will actually add to the cost of heating and maintaining your home. If your home isn’t functioning well for you, an interior architect/designer can help you to make the most of the space that you already have, which will also save you money.

THINK ABOUT THE BENEFITS

When planning your home renovation, try to make decisions that provide both tangible and financial benefits. A good example of this is adding insulation. This not only will make your home feel more comfortable but will also reduce your heating bills. Also, prioritise works that provide the greatest return on investment. Again, attic insulation is relatively inexpensive but very effective.

KEEP IT SIMPLE

Keep your home renovation specifications simple. By doing this you will avoid over-stretching your budget. It is always better to reduce your scope of works and to complete the works properly using quality, energy-efficient products.

STICK TO A BUDGET

Your finances should also be arranged well in advance of your home renovation. Establish your budget and stick to it. The budget is an essential component of any plan. It dictates the scope of works that will be carried out. Your bank must also be informed in writing of the start and finish dates of your home renovation and the dates on which you are contracted to make payments. By doing this you will avoid a possible scenario in which the builder has to cease all works whilst waiting for a payment. This will cost you money in the form of ‘standing time’. So properly arranged finances can actually save you money.

HOW WE CAN HELP

At RENOVA we will establish the overall time frame for the works. The time frame is inclusive of the whole process from design stage through to the final handover. Planning everything and ordering in advance of your home renovation will reduce time frame. This results in less time on site and less time spent out of your house, which saves you money.

A lot of people expect to going over budget when they start a renovation project but this does not have to be the case. If you are strategic about your planning and meticulous with your research you can stay on track and even save some money. You will not only end up with the home of your dreams but also peace of mind knowing that everything came in under budget. So, if you want to make the most of your home through Deep Retrofit contact us today and let us help you turn your vision into reality.

 

Web: www.renova.ie

Tel: 01 2021122

Email: info@renova.ie

The fundamentals of retrofit

According to a recent article by John Cradden on Independent.ie, The Tricky Economics of Greening your Home‘, it is essential to prioritise insulation and ventilation as opposed to more ‘trendy’ technologies when carrying out energy-saving retrofit on your home….

This view is also shared by RENOVA, home-energy experts, who always place importance upon the fundamentals of insulation and ventilation when carrying out a Deep Retrofit. It is very important to re-iterate this to home owners. Basically speaking, if a home is not well insulated and well-ventilated first, then installing modern technologies such as heat pumps and solar panels will make very little difference to your energy bills. So if you want to retrofit and improve your home’s overall energy-efficiency and BER, focus on upgrading the basic structure of the building first. Don’t be swayed by so-called ‘eco-bling’ and trendy new technologies.

According to architectural technologist and energy consultant Archie O’Donnell “Over the years, there have been a lot of low-energy new builds and retrofits, but we generally find that when consumers go to home-improvement shows, when they read the glossy magazines and start to research the whole area of low-energy, they are immediately drawn to the technology. You have to think of retrofit like a stool with three legs . We’re very good in this country at addressing one leg, which is reducing energy in new builds and in a retrofit. What we’re quite bad at is the other two legs, which are moisture and ventilation.”

At RENOVA we agree with O’Donnell’s views on retrofit and appreciate the importance of ‘building tight and ventilating right’. We highly recommend the inclusion of these fundamentals before contemplating the installation of renewable technologies such as solar thermal panels for water heating, biomass boilers, heat pumps etc. These are also beneficial, but should not be considered before other retrofit measures – namely, insulation and ventilation.

Insulation

 

 

Interestingly, a theme of enquiry from home owners has been recurring at RENOVA over recent years. The common problem is ‘condensation’ and in many cases black mould growth on walls and ceilings. This is caused by high levels of humidity. It thrives on two ingredients, high temperatures and a supply of water vapour. As a general rule of thumb, humidity levels will double with every 10 degree increase in temperature. In other words, the warmer your house is, the more water vapour the air will hold. As your house becomes more air-tight and warmer, stale humid air can become trapped inside. Think of all that moisture from showers, baths, kettles, bubbling pots and pans, steamers, tumble driers and even our own breath! Fitting new windows and having a more air-tight, well-insulated home, without proper ventilation therefore, has become the main cause of poor air quality and ‘sick building syndrome’.

Ventilation- fundamentals of retrofit

A RENOVA retrofit will not only be air-tight and well-sealed; most importantly, it will be well-ventilated. ‘Air-tightness’ and ‘ventilation’ must go hand-in-hand to prevent an unhealthy living environment. Good ventilation requires maintaining a constant flow of air within a house – fresh air in and stale air out. Good ventilation will remove the humid air before it has a chance to condense on relatively cold surfaces. If left untreated, damp can lead to a host of problems. Problems such as corrosion of internal finishes and even health problems. This is dangerous especially in vulnerable young children, elderly people and individuals with respiratory problems such as asthma.

Whilst passive/natural ventilation (holes in the external walls) may meet building regulations, we recommend that controlled/mechanical ventilation is used to maintain a consistent flow of fresh air within the home. There are many sophisticated systems available such as ‘Heat Recovery Ventilation’. However, this can be expensive and difficult to install, especially in a retrofit situation. A cost-effective and practical alternative is an ‘Aereco Demand Controlled Ventilation’ system. Click here to see an Aereco video.

DCV or ‘Demand Controlled Ventilation’ is based on a simple principle. Have the optimum amount of fresh air in a home on a fully automated basis. It offers the ideal solution concerning both heating consumption and the indoor air quality. When the need for ventilation is low, which is usually more than half of the time, savings can be made. More ventilation is needed during times such as showering and cooking. When more moisture and humidity is created. Scientific studies have illustrated that DCV can result in 30% reduction in ventilation losses compared to natural ventilation.

A point made by architect Bill Scott of Scott and MacNeil Architects, is that undertaking a number of different retrofit measures does not result in a ‘multiplier effect’. Tom Halpin, SEAI’s head of information says that installing three typical energy-saving measures in your home that each results in a 20-25% in cost savings individually, should still result in reducing the average heating bill by about half.

So, if you are considering a retrofit of your home, remember to make insulation and ventilation a priority. If you are renovating your home, please remember to retrofit it too. Any renovation without a retrofit is a lost opportunity to create a warm, comfortable, energy-efficient and healthy home.

For a free, no obligation consultation contact RENOVA today

Tel: 01 2021122

Email: info@renova.ie

Web: www.renova.ie

 

Tag Archive for: deep retrofit