Energy efficiency and saving energy in old houses is a notoriously difficult thing to do, especially in Belfast, Northern Ireland, where the weather is changeable and old house can mean a house with solid stone walls built in the mid-1800s. So where do we even start with the task? What do we do to save more every in an old house?
The answer to this question is provided by epc4less.com who provide EPCs in Belfast. You can find them if you search EPC Belfast.
Walls And Fabric
The biggest problem with the energy efficiency of older buildings is the way they are built. While modern building regulations set pretty high standards of insulation, and even fairly straightforward conversations are required to hit particular U-values, this has not always been true.
A fabric-first approach means that, before you try improving any energy systems or usage within your house, you should look at how the house is made and what
Uninsulated lofts: Loft insulation is incredibly important, since around 25% of heat loss can occur through an insulated loft. Older houses in particular tend not to have the required insulation to keep the house working at it’s best, and loft insulation is one of the cheapest and easiest places to start. In fact, even if your loft is insulation, over time the insulation can sag and compress, significantly diminishing it’s effectiveness. If you have an old home it’s worth getting up into the loft and checking out how much insulation you have, and consider topping it up. This is the lowest cost solution to increasing the EPC rating of your property.
Solid walls: Up until the 1920’s, cavity walls were uncommon, meaning that if you have a home older than that, it’s likely to have solid brick external walls. This is a problem because it solid walls let changes in temperature outside, transfer to the inside much, much more easily. If you have solid walls, your will be spending a lot more on heating in the winter, as the building leaks heat through the walls. The best option to tackle this is with external wall insulation. It can make a huge difference, but be aware that it doesn’t come cheap. Obviously, this is a high-cost solution to increasing the EPC rating of your property.
Glazing: Windows are another weak point of older houses, where they lose energy efficiency. But this also means there are improvements and savings to be made! Old wooden frames rot and warp over time, creating drafts. These can be repaired, replaced, or upgraded to new window frames which look almost the same. This is a high-cost solution to increasing the EPC rating of your property.
As for the glass itself, this will always be the weakest part of the thermal envelope of any house – there is no getting around the fact that windows are terrible insulators. However, it could be time to consider swapping out for double or triple glazing. One thing you’ll need to consider before replacing windows is if the house is a listed building. Listing buildings have been identified for having a historical importance in the town or village. NI Building Control regulations do not allow any changes that will affect the character of these buildings.
Before buying a property your solicitor will need to carry out searches and let you know if the building is listed. If your property is listed, then be prepared to keep your old single-glazed windows and have a rather difficult to heat bedroom.
If your property is in the Belfast area and you wish to make your Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) survey appointment contact www.epc4less.com