We are currently having our loft space converted into an extra bedroom. Many of the details are just as required by Building Regulations, but we are having higher specification windows and wall insulation. We have chosen triple glazed windows, to improve heat retention. There are two triple-glazed Velux windows, already installed in the sloping roof and two triple-glazed windows for the dormer window on order from a factory in Estonia. Our insulation will be extra thick on the side wall of the house, as that has existing external solid wall insulation, and full internal wall insulation will be installed in addition.
We are also using metal guttering and down pipes rather than standard PVC.
Windows: easy and difficult
Ordering the triple-glazed Velux window was very straightforward. However, specifying and ordering the other windows has been a long and somewhat fraught process, requiring extensive discussions between our builder and the specialist company we used to order the window, as to precise sizings and particularly the fitting system and materials needed for that. Our builder assures us that windows are always difficult because every manufacturer uses a different fixing system, and windows all have different details. Nevertheless, it has brought into sharp focus, yet again, how difficult it can be to specify components which go beyond current standards.
We are also going to have some solar PV fitted to our west-facing roof - as the (smallish) south facing roof already has solar water heating on the higher part, with the remaining roof area being over-shadowed by buildings and trees. We were debating having additional PV panels on a south facing frame on our new flat roof (on top of the new loft dormer). But this would require planning permission, because the highest edge of the frame would be above the existing ridge line - as opposed to putting a full set of panels on the street-facing roof which requires no planning permission. Planning permission could take up to 8 weeks to come through, and might mean we wouldn't be able to take advantage of the existing scaffolding (which will save some costs, and hassle). Also there were rumblings from our builder about our flat roof guarantee being compromised - although the solar firm said they could do the installation without affecting the integrity of the roof. So we have taken the path of least resistance and gone for the smaller west-facing system only. The panels will still generate almost as much as our current electricity consumption. In comparison to the windows saga, dealing with the PV company has been very easy. They are specifying and fitting everything, much to our relief.