With even small modifications, homeowners can decrease their energy output, expand on the use of environmentally sustainable products, increase thermal comfort (making the house cooler in summer and warmer in winter) and improve indoor air quality by removing toxins such as formaldehyde. Kerry Henning from Saint-Gobain explains the benefits of a retrofit.

WHY SHOULD BUYERS CONSIDER RETROFITTING THEIR PROPERTY?

It is possible to save between 60%-90% of energy usage if the whole building is refurbished to meet legislative guidelines. A consistent temperature means a decrease in the consumption of power and hence a decrease in the cost of heating or cooling the house, along with creating a more comfortable living space. Efficient power usage saves clients’ money and the environment by reducing greenhouse gas output.

WHICH PARTS OF A BUILDING ARE LESS GREEN?

When planning a retrofit, understand where heat loss and gain typically occur in a building: the roof and ceiling, walls, floors and foundations, and windows and doors. Good roof insulation, for instance, ensures comfortable thermal and acoustic benefits, and offers the best cost-to-benefit ratio: higher energy efficiency can be achieved with minimal expenditure. An insulated ceiling is often considered a luxury, but it costs less than 1% of the total per square metre building outlay. This should save an owner money for the lifespan of a home. As a product example consider Saint-Gobain’s Isover Think Pink Aerolite for thermal and acoustic ceiling insulation.

HOW DOES A RETROFIT AFFECT PROPERTY VALUES?

It makes sense that any home that uses less energy to run will be sought after as a property, as energy supply costs continue to rise. According to findings from a McGraw-Hill Construction study on green building trends, upfront investment in green building makes properties more valuable, with an average expected increase of 4%. By virtue of lowered maintenance and energy costs, the return on investment from green buildings is rapid: a green retrofit project is generally expected to pay for itself in just seven years.