Older buildings often use vast amounts of energy and unfortunately, still tend to fall short on providing the appropriate conditions for their occupants. From high utility bills to the health complications associated with cold, damp and poorly ventilated spaces, low-quality buildings can create many problems.
Refurbishing existing buildings to a good standard of sustainable design enable running costs to be reduced, renders the internal environment healthier and ultimately, makes a property more desirable. There are many elements of building refurbishment that can both benefit occupants and enhance environmental performance.
Sustainable lighting solutions have evolved rapidly. Many modern systems offer greater user control and create brighter and warmer environments while using far less energy than conventional methods.
Passive measures can be used to exploit daylight, for example. From installing solar tunnels to strategically positioning windows, available daylight can be optimised in a variety of ways. Aside from saving energy, it is well-documented that exposure to daylight has a positive impact on health and wellbeing.
Introducing smart controls provides greater control over lighting and energy usage. Power down switches enables users to turn off non-essential items, thereby further reducing energy consumption. Furthermore, energy monitoring devices not only determine real-time consumption but also provide projected use and the associated costs and carbon emissions.
Active sustainable refurbishment measures include replacing traditional bulbs with energy efficient LED lamps. Choosing the right mix of lighting is also important and if carefully chosen, appropriate task, feature and ambient lighting can be created, thereby maximising usage and avoiding waste.
When upgrading a building’s heating and plumbing system, sustainable refurbishment measures provide greater user control as well as improving efficiency. From draught-proofing doors to upgrading windows or installing high-quality insulation, there are several ways to help retain heat and reduce the need for central heating.
Smart heating controls can be installed to ensure heat is only being generated at the appropriate time of day and in the ideal areas. From simple, inexpensive measures to investing in energy-efficient boilers or solar heating panels, sustainable refurbishment generates cost and energy savings, either immediately or over time.