Wednesday, 09 March 2022 13:45

Eco-friendly garden rooms: how to install them?

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The choice of a wooden home for your leisure time is an environmentally friendly decision. However, did you know that some of the garden rooms can be more environmentally friendly than others?

The truth is that there are never too many greener solutions on which our environment, and also our well-being belongs. Therefore, in this article, we have decided to share some ideas that will make your modern garden rooms environmentally friendly even more.

Greener insulation of garden rooms

Even taking care of the environment and deciding to build a wooden house, we do not always think that the insulation of a wooden house can also be important for the ecology.

In terms of high-quality insulation, materials such as polyester or stone wool can be replaced by eco-wool, a cellulose fiber thermal insulation material. It is important to mention that this is a great solution for insulating a wooden room, not only in terms of ecology. Eko-wool has properties close to the wood, therefore the material reacts to the temperature changes the same as wood does. For this reason, there is no gap between the wall and the insulation material in the wooden structures - the house remains breathable and (at the same time) warm.

Eko-wool is also characterized by bulkiness, which, when insulating the walls of a wooden house, allows to fill all their irregularities and cracks, ensuring the maximum thermal insulation. It is also necessary to mention the maximum sound insulation of this material, which is used for the greener insulation of the house. The garden rooms are insulated with eco-wool, which is characterized by antiseptic materials and also protected from mold and fungus. Therefore, wooden constructions serve and remain in perfect condition for many years.

Greener decoration of the house

Finishing a wooden house is the second area where many eco-friendly solutions can be made. One of them is to choose a natural exterior and interior decoration of the wooden house, instead of hiding natural wood under synthetic materials. This choice not only maintains the natural appearance of the house but also preserves the best technical properties of wood as a building material.

The decision to leave the natural exterior of the garden room out does not mean that the wood does not require special care. Like other natural materials, wood can be an excellent medium for mold, mildew, or rot, and is affected by a variety of external factors. For these reasons, both the facade and the exterior wood of the garden house must be protected with help of professional products.

To ensure protection against harmful external factors, the wood must be covered with a transparent or opaque finish. It is better to choose a transparent coating for a smooth surface. For the protection of wooden houses, it is also possible to use an impregnator to protect against rot, bruising, and planting fungi. It is worth noting that, depending on the typical weather conditions, the finish needs to be renewed from time to time. The north side of the house may remain unchanged for more than a decade, and the finish on the constantly sun-heated site may need to be refurbished in a few years. Darkened varnishes or opaque paints last longer than a transparent coating. Proper and timely use of protective equipment helps the tree to last long and serve your needs for a long time.

Renewable sources of energy

Whatever construction or decoration materials we choose for our garden room, we build it once and use it for many years. However, when it comes to electricity, we need it all the time. Therefore, if you want to make your holiday home truly friendly to the environment around us, we recommend that you give careful consideration to the installation of renewable electricity sources, which, thanks to advanced technology, can be built in several ways.

We can probably consider solar energy as the most renewable source of electricity. A solar collector can be a great way to save electricity in sunny areas or when, for some reason, you do not want to be connected to a common electricity grid. Equipped solar panels will also reduce electricity bills and, in some cases, even make money if too much energy is produced.

It is important to mention that solar energy can be stored in special batteries, which can also be combined with other energy storage systems. These technologies work well together because they can all store energy together. One such system that is easily compatible with solar panels is windmills.

Windmills are one of the most frequently chosen sources of natural energy in homesteads. They are especially popular in rural areas or more open areas, where the wind is usually stronger at any time of year. Due to the relatively favorable climate in our region, windmills can be used virtually 90% of the time. It is important to mention that these sources of energy are also known as extremely clean, renewable energy sources with low operating costs. This is a great choice for filling empty areas of land, even if no garden houses are planned to be built shortly.

Although solar energy is generally identified as the most environmentally friendly alternative, wind energy is a great option for those living in extremely windy areas. It takes only a little knowledge of the land and batteries to store the electricity produced by a windmill. You will buy and install such a personal windmill for about 700 euros. While renewable energy sources installed for this amount are likely to be in the middle class, they will certainly meet most of your needs.

A third, but no less efficient, option for renewable energy sources is the micro-hydro power plant, which is also usually combined with other renewable energy mechanisms. Whether from a low current or a larger river, small hydropower systems can generate enough electricity for all the electrical appliances and lighting in your wooden home. Therefore, the possibility of installing this alternative energy source should be considered if there is at least one source of running water near your home. Such renewable energy sources require a turbine, pump, or water wheel to convert the energy of the running water into rotational energy and then electricity.

It is important to mention that a cost-effective hydroelectric plant can produce more electricity than you need to use electrical appliances and to light your home, so you can also use the excess to heat your home and hot water. It can be considered a very reliable source of electricity, as it can generate electricity 24 hours a day, producing not only the amount of energy you need but even more. It is true that before deciding to install these hydroelectric mechanisms, a special permit must be obtained for the installation of such a mechanism.

So, whether you live in a rural area and do not have access to the electricity grid, or live in a suburb and just want to reduce your utility bill, renewables are a great solution.

Environmentally friendly heating

Although garden rooms can be heated in a variety of ways, it has recently become extremely popular to design holiday homes to provide passive solar heating. This means that garden sheds are specially designed to store solar heat naturally. Passive solar heating can be perfectly combined with other renewable energy sources, but in this case, they are needed much less.

It is worth mentioning that the proper design of passive heating combined with high-quality insulation can save up to 50% of thermal energy. As the word "passive" suggests in itself, there is practically nothing to do when designing this type of house. However, quite often a mistake is made when trying to heat a wooden house passively – the shade is not sufficiently taken into account. If natural cooling is not taken into account, the house can also overheat a bit in the summer.

Another alternative to greener heating is heating with biomass. We can call this any form of wood waste that is burned to produce heat. The term biomass includes logs, wood waste, wood chips, and wood pellets. It is true that, although some energy is used to process and transport these products, relatively little carbon is emitted into the atmosphere, and wood is replanted.

Those who are hesitant about whether such a heating solution could be a good solution for log garden houses should know that it is completely safe! The fireplace not only provides coziness, but also allows efficient heating of the premises, so alternative renewable energy sources for heating are not necessary and can be used for other purposes. Pellet systems are more popular in domestic installations because the fuel in their case is automatically supplied to the boiler. All you need to do is refuel every time. This energy source produces very little ash, so you don’t have to empty it too often.

Quality thermal insulation

Whatever quality and the ecological heating method you choose, the most environmentally friendly modern garden rooms will be when they will need to be heated as little as possible. The long-lasting heat energy in the garden house will significantly reduce the heating bills as well.

In this case, it is worth noting the fact that the poorly insulated walls of the cottage are not the only place through which garden rooms tend to give away the heat. It is estimated that 25% of the heat goes away through the windows and doors.

Probably the most popular option that can provide the highest thermal insulation are plastic windows and high-quality doors. However, to maintain the authenticity and style of a wooden house, you can increase thermal insulation in other ways. If we are talking about wooden windows that are not in very good condition, you could consider simply changing their glass to a thicker one.

Another possible option is to apply a special sealant on the places where the glass is attached to the window frame, and if necessary, the glass framing tape can be replaced. As long as the outdoor temperature is not lower than zero, a special insulating tape can also be applied along the entire perimeter of the frames. Cracks in window frames visible to the naked eye can be covered with cotton wool, interior scraps, or other insulation materials.

When it comes to doors, special attention should be paid not only to exterior doors but also to others, leading to cold rooms or corridors. If you are faced with a situation where cold air enters the room through the bottom of the door,  you can attach special brushes to the bottom.