London Basement Conversions and Energy Upgrade
As architects undertaking basement conversions in London we have a wide and detailed knowledge of the methods by which the basement is made an energy efficient addition and how the existing building fabric can also be made more energy efficient. Given the work being undertaken to form a basement conversion that often includes the redevelopment and refurbishment of the whole house or one or two upper levels, it is a very good opportunity to upgrade thermal elements such as existing walls, windows and roofs. Other measures include the introduction of rooflights to improve the level of daylight into a property and also consideration of heating and ventilation systems and the efficiency of light fittings and various bathroom fixtures and fittings. Below we will describe our experience of designing and building energy efficient upgrades to properties in London.
As architects in London working on a variety of projects types and various sizes of project we are able to bring a wide range of knowledge of building approaches and building products to our basement conversion projects in addition to our expertise in basement design itself.
London Basement Conversions: Thermal Upgrade
Existing external solid masonry walls can be thermally upgraded with the addition of a thermal lining by British Gypsum or similar company. This consists of thermal insulation bonded to plasterboard. Such boards come in a variety of insulation thicknesses. In several of our basement conversions in Fulham and in Kensington, our clients have followed this route and acknowledged that there is also a benefit in the sound insulation achieved alongside the thermal benefits. A true and flat internal surface is also easily formed, which benefits internal plastering and decoration. Each thermal lining product will have a series of manufacturer’s details and provide useful detailing guides in respect of junctions at windows etc. In addition to the upgrade of the existing walls the upgrade of windows is a productive approach to saving energy and will also have the same benefits in respect of sound insulation and true surfaces for decoration. The upgrade of single glazed windows to high performance double glazed windows will typically require a Planning Permission. In our London basement conversion projects we have included the change of windows within the main planning application and have been successful in doing so.
To the garden elevation of a basement conversion there are typically sliding/folding doors installed. As new thermal elements they will be specified to comply with or exceed the requirements of Building Regulation Approved documents Part L. A wide variety of door glazing systems are available and the cost can vary markedly. At our Fulham basement Conversion in Ellerby Street we have used very narrow glazing sections to achieve a ‘light’ feel. In addition to new sliding/folding doors a range of rooflights are often introduced into basement conversion projects both giving onto the basement and at upper floors. As before these should be specified to meet or exceed the requirements of the Building Regulations. In addition to be efficient in minimising heat loss, rooflights are very effective in bringing natural light into the building interior and thereby reducing the need for artificial lighting.
London Basement Conversions: Upgrade of Building Services
The energy use of a building can be much affected by the design and specification of the Services within a building. Heating, Lighting and Ventilation design should always be considered carefully as part of a low energy strategy. Equally the specification of fixtures and fittings to bathrooms, utility rooms and kitchens should also be carefully specified to achieve as high as possible energy efficient rating. Our basement conversions in Fulham and also Kensington can have large number of such goods and the potential to save energy, resources and money is clear. At Shape Architecture our experience of designing basement conversions in London that also include further extensions and refurbishment at upper levels means that we are well placed to advise on an energy efficient approach to the upgrade of building services.