4 Ways to Make Your Home Stand Out with a Sustainable Loft Conversion
Eco-friendly homes are rapidly changing the property market as buyers try to find ways to lead a more sustainable lifestyle. Here, David Knight from Roof Windows 4 You explains how you can make your home stand out with a sustainable loft conversion.
There are many things that can boost the value of your home, from its décor to its energy efficiency. But, as homeowners become more conscious of the environmental effects of their actions, many are looking for ways to make their homes more eco-friendly. If you're thinking of selling up, one way you can encourage buyers to put in an offer is by making your home more sustainable.
By adding a loft conversion, not only will you be adding an extra room to your home (which can boost your property value) but, if you do it right, you could also make your home more environmentally friendly. Below, I'll be going through the ways you can make your home stand out with a sustainable loft conversion.
Choose sustainable building materials
Whether you're designing your loft conversion yourself or hiring an architect, you'll be able to choose the materials you want to use in the construction process. The great thing about loft conversions is that it's usually built into your existing roof space, so it doesn't require many extra building materials. But, if you're building outwards to install a dormer roof, try to pick out sustainable materials, like timber that's been responsibly sourced and has an FSC certification, instead of concrete or brick.
Recycled materials are also an option. You can recover timber and roof tiles from a reclamation yard, but you can also purchase roof tiles made from recycled plastic, rubber or wood fibres. Or, for a more modern, industrial look, you can use recycled metal instead. Eco-friendly materials can cost a little bit more than their everyday alternatives, but most house hunters would be willing to pay extra for a home that's sustainable, so you can gain back some of these costs once you make a sale.
If you do choose any of these materials, be mindful that you might need planning permission if they look different to those used in the rest of your home. So, make sure you read The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 before any work starts to check if your loft conversion needs planning permission.
Use quality insulation
Approximately 25% of the heat generated by your boiler is lost through your roof, according to a report from The Green Age. But, with quality insulation, you can help to reduce this heat loss and make your home more energy efficient. Plus, if you choose insulation made from eco-friendly materials, you can boost your sustainability credentials even more. Common insulation is usually made from cellulose and fibreglass, which include a high percentage of recycled materials, like recycled glass and newspaper. But you can also look for natural alternatives like insulation made from sheep's wool, wood fibres or hemp.
For a loft conversion, a professional installer will fit your insulation either under the floor or behind the rafters before the plasterboard goes on. This will help to trap most of your heat in, without taking up any extra space.
Make use of your roof space
As part of your design, you might want to think about how you'll use your roof space. It's the perfect location to install solar panels, which will help to generate more eco-friendly energy and make your home more energy efficient. However, it can often take years before you can reap the benefits and, if they're on a lease, you may need to transfer ownership of the solar panels to the new homeowner, which can be a complicated process.
Instead, roof windows may be a better option. Not only will they provide a pleasant view from the highest point of your home — which can help to attract buyers — but they'll also help to let in lots of natural sunlight, which reduces the need for artificial light in the daytime and can also help to heat your home naturally. And, because windows now usually come double glazed as standard, you don't need to worry about any heat escaping either. So, you might find that you'll need to switch your heating on less.
To get the most out of your windows, discuss with your architect where on your roof would be best to install them. It's usually wise to place them on various parts of your roof, so you'll still get some sunlight coming through even as the sun moves around over the course of the day. But, if this isn't possible, try to install your roof windows on the side of your house that gets the most hours of sunlight each day.
Add eco-friendly décor
Décor can make or break a sale, so it's important that your new loft conversion looks great. Show potential buyers what they can use the space for, whether it's an extra bedroom or a playroom for the kids. Because sustainability has become such a big concern among consumers, there are many eco-friendly paints, wallpapers, and pieces of furniture that you can incorporate into your new room, too.
Use natural wooden flooring where you can and look for furniture made from natural and recycled materials, like wood or stone, to reflect the natural materials used in the loft conversion. Alternatively, you can search charity shops and vintage stores for pre-loved pieces to give furniture a new lease of life.
Houseplants are another great option. Bringing the outdoors in can look great, and it can also help to improve the air quality in your home. So, consider having a few small houseplants sitting on tables or hanging from the ceiling or the handles of your roof windows to save on floor space.
To make your home look the best it can possibly be, you might want to look for a home staging business in your area who can decorate your home and help increase its wow factor.
If you want to boost the attractiveness of your home to potential buyers, a sustainable loft conversion could be a great option. Just remember to highlight its eco-conscious credentials during a viewing.