B12 - Comfort Spaces
You can fit out areas of your house in simple, low-tech, low energy ways and at relatively low cost to make your home more comfortable in winter and summer.
Work with what is in place currently to create a 'warm corner' or a 'cool corner'.
The basic approach is to design a room or area that will stay warmer or cooler than the rest of the house and that will be easier to keep at the desired
temperature. To make this happen, you will need to focus on:
- making the room as naturally warm or cool as possible
- storing the warmth or coolness overnight for use the next day
- using low-cost, effective warming or cooling appliances.
Before you make any changes, you may want to ensure that any existing insulation in your home is working well or consider installing insulation,
especially in the ceiling and under the floor. Even though insulation can be costly, it makes your home easier and cheaper to heat and retains
heat, thus saving you money. Insulation also helps to keep your home cooler in summer (see B9 Insulation).
The warm corner
For winter, the recommended temperature for your living room/area is 18°C - 20°C. With or without full home insulation, you can create a snug corner in a room or area of your
home that is naturally warmer than other areas. This could be the existing living room, your kitchen, your bedroom or even a spare room that is north facing for the sun.
Things to do
- The most important thing you can do is install thick or thermal curtains. Even adding lining to existing curtains will improve the retention of heat in a room.
Floor-length curtains are more effective than curtains that only reach to the bottom of the windowsill. Close curtains as soon as the sun sets to keep in heat and
open them in the daytime so that the sun can warm the room.
- Install pelmets above windows to cover the gap between the window and curtains.
- Install curtains across doors (especially glass doors) to minimise draughts and reduce heat loss through doorways.
- Use a draught excluder at the base of the door - the old fashioned 'door snake'.
- Seal gaps around windows and doors with selfadhesive foam draught sealing strips.
- Cover bare floors with rugs or carpet (but ensure that rugs are non-slip and attach carpet to the floor, so that these do not cause falls).
- If your windows are not double glazed, installing do-it-yourself (DIY) insulation film on windows is a simple and inexpensive option. It helps prevent heat loss and
condensation on windows
The cool corner
To make a cool corner and to generally reduce heat levels in your home:
- open windows or doors to get air moving through the house
- use loose-weave curtains or blinds to keep out the sun but allow air to circulate
- install an awning over the windows that get the most sun (If the awning is positioned correctly, it will shade the house from summer sun but let in sun during the winter.)
- use fans for spot cooling (fans are efficient and cheap).
- Heating and cooling your home appropriately will make it healthier and more comfortable to live in. Most of the suggestions listed above are relatively
inexpensive to do and are easily added to your existing home.
- If you are renting, it pays to check with your landlord if you want to make changes that could affect the house structure, such as installing an awning over a window or
DIY insulation film on windows. But almost all of the suggestions listed above would not need your landlord's permission.
What do I need in order to take this option?
- You need to have the funds and some DIY skills to make relatively inexpensive changes. If you are not confident about DIY, then perhaps friends or family
can assist, or you could hire a local handyman service.
- You need to have good information about what changes could work in your home. It pays to check out online advice - some councils offer a free
sustainable home advisory service.
Could this option limit my future choices?
No, improving comfort will help you to stay in your home for longer.
For more information