The Fundamentals of Eco-Renovation
– Eco-renovation: its advantages
– Characteristics of an eco-renovation
You want to live in a healthy, comfortable, and ecological house? Have you decided not to remain passive in the face of environmental degradation? Here are some indications to help you understand the basics of eco-renovation.
Eco-renovation: its advantages
The eco-renovation consists of adapting an existing construction to create a comfortable and healthy interior space while seeking to reduce its impact on the environment, taking into account
– the work done (low impact materials, heritage quality,…);
– the use of the house (heating, water, waste, transportation).
Here are several reasons that can motivate this approach:
– To adapt the existing to the current comfort requirements.
– To reduce expenses.
– To gain independence from the fluctuations of energy costs.
– To improve comfort (no more “cold walls”, no unwanted air movements,…).
– Reduce the risks of building degradation (condensation on or in the walls).
– Create activity in a high-potential field (creation of wealth, non-relocatable jobs…).
– Anticipate future thermal regulations.
– Respond to environmental issues:
◦ climate change;
◦ depletion of resources;
◦ risks to health and biodiversity (waste, nuclear accident, oil spill, etc.).
Investing in the existing rather than building new
The reasons can be diverse:
– Safeguarding agricultural land.
– Preserve and enhance the local heritage.
– The non-increase of the local authorities’ expenses (networks, waste collection, etc.).
– The conservation of a dynamic of town or neighborhood.
– The limitation of energy consumption of construction mainly due to the structural work.
Characteristics of an eco-renovation
Take the time to design the project.
Above all, it is a question of taking the time to:
– Carry out an inventory of the existing: the building system and its specificities, the possible problems of humidity to be solved, the solid points/weak points of the existing (inertia, orientation, the layout of the rooms,…), the patrimonial elements to be protected.
– Define the objectives of the renovation.
– Call upon the competent people for:
◦ free advice: renovation platform, etc.;
◦ the design and management of the construction site.
Taking energy performance into account
Given the current comfort requirements and the environmental impact of energy consumption, an eco-renovation must imperatively take into account the energy performance of the house:
– Aim for the residential green building standards, which appear to be the most relevant to your project.
– Give priority to insulation, airtightness, efficient ventilation, and summer comfort (inertia, solar protection).
– Think about renewable energies (solar, wood, especially wood pellets).
Reduce the environmental impact of the work done
The manufacture and implementation of materials for your renovation are not neutral from an environmental point of view. To reduce their impact, choose bio-sourced materials (mainly of plant origin) or recycled materials.
Find the right balance between architectural quality, heritage preservation, quality of use (comfort and low costs), and environmental impact.
Important: Have an airtightness test performed during the construction and at the end of the work: it is one of the best ways to verify the quality of the implementation.
Look for quality
Call on professionals with a proven track record:
– Ask for references from jobs similar to yours.
Ensure that the professionals are aware of the stakes of eco-renovation and are trained in the relevant fields.
Note: in the case of an old building, do not forget to consider the behavior of the wall with humidity (capillary rise, opening to water vapor).
Do not forget:
– Air quality: use finishing products with low VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) emissions, and don’t forget ventilation.
– Water management, whether it is rainwater or water consumption (use of aerators and water-saving showerheads).
All in all, these were the basics of eco-renovation. Please, feel free to share, comment, and add more ideas from your side.