A conservatory can be a very pleasant addition to your house – a lovely place to sit and enjoy views of your garden in warmth and comfort. But perhaps you were not aware that a well-designed conservatory can actually save you money on your household fuel bills, and if you are canny, perhaps on your food bills too.
– Solar gain and thermal mass:
When talking about the capacity of your house to absorb and retain heat, a lot of jargon is bandied about. In fact, the issue is very simple. The sun is an energy source, and in cold-weather climates, harnessing that energy is vital for space heating. The heat your house ‘collects’ from the sun is called ‘solar gain’. A well-designed conservatory, especially one that is south facing, with large windows, will act as a heat collector, if you will – gathering the suns rays and thereby raising the temperature of the room – it can even help to heat your whole house, thereby lowering your space heating bills and saving you money in the long run. You will be surprised at how warm a conservatory can actually get.
The other key factor in a well-designed conservatory is ‘thermal mass’. Thermal mass is just a solid, dense material that will absorb heat from the sun during the day and slowly release it later. A good conservatory should have plenty of thermal mass. A brick wall would do, as would clay render or ceramic floor tiles, which are also very good for thermal mass. It really does not matter what it is, but when you have it, you will certainly notice how it can help to regulate the temperature of your home through the day and night.
– Thermal Efficiency:
When thinking about the thermal gain it is also useful to think about thermal efficiency, so make sure that your conservatory is designed to be as thermally efficient as possible. This means having the best possible windows and fittings. Having the latest double or triple glazing can be a good idea – the extra money you spend may be reflected in the decrease in your heating bills.
– Growing space:
When you see your savings on your fuel bills you may well be impressed enough, but if you are looking at reducing your living costs further and becoming more self-sufficient into the bargain, a conservatory can also be a good investment in that it gives you excellent growing space – as good as a heated greenhouse, but without the big fuel bills. Whether you are dabbling with a few herbs and a tomato plant, or going the whole hog and starting vegetables for later planting into a garden plot, consider turning your conservatory into a green haven and you could save yet more money by growing some of your own food. Yet another benefit to buying a conservatory.
Source: Allerton Windows