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The garden building business is blooming booming!

Thanks to technological advances aiding mobile communications and the ever-increasing costs of commuting, many of us are opting to work from home. A self-contained office in the garden provides the perfect environment to do just that.

The downturn in the economy has also played its part in the garden building boom. Financial uncertainty has resulted in a reluctance to move house, with homeowners choosing to stay put and improve and/or extend properties. In some cases this has led to the introduction of a garden building, whether used as a garden room, summerhouse or kids’ den.Heating a garden building, outdoor office, summerhouse or posh shed

To get the maximum use from a garden building, heating (along with light and power) is a must. If the building isn’t warm and cosy, then it won’t be used, particularly in the colder winter months. This article looks at factors to consider when it comes to heating your garden building.

Insulation is key

Is there adequate insulation? Some, but not all purpose-built garden rooms, are adequately insulated. If you have converted a shed or outbuilding, or opted for a lower cost garden building, then you will probably need to add insulation. Without this, the cost of heating could be prohibitively expensive.

Add Heating

In order for any garden building to be comfortable and useable (for more than just storage), all year round, it will need to be heated.

So what factors should you consider when choosing heating for a garden building?

  • Heat output – when choosing any form of heating it is critical that the option you select has the capacity to adequately heat the space. If in doubt, oversize the heater, as you can always turn it down.
  • Thermostatic control – choosing a heating option with a thermostat will ensure that your garden building is heated optimally at a constant and comfortable temperature. Thermostatic controls provide efficient and cost-effective use of power; for instance, they can turn off a heater when the room has reached its optimum temperature; perfect on a sunny day for taking advantage of any “free heat” from the sun. By maintaining the temperature above a certain minimum level, you protect the contents of the building, including computers and soft furnishings, from cold or damp related damage.
  • Timer – by opting for a product with a timer, you can ensure that the heating is on when it needs to be. A timer allows you to set the heating to come on just before you start your day, ensuring a toasty office in time for when you arrive.
  • Space – by their very nature, many outbuildings are small in size. Therefore space is often a critical factor in choosing your heating option. These days, radiators are available in unusually narrow or low sizes, so there is likely to be something to accommodate even the most awkward of wall spaces. There are also floor-standing heaters, which are portable and take up no wall space.
  • Budget – it may seem obvious, but costs vary immensely on heating options for garden buildings. For instance, the price of an electric heater can range from £20 for a basic fan heater to £2000 for the ultimate designer model. Take account of installation costs as well, for example if you opt for electric underfloor heating, bear in mind that installation costs may be considerable, especially if the floor needs to be taken up to allow the electric foil mat to be fitted underneath.
  • Aesthetics – Whether your new space is for living or working, as well as being a comfortable and functional environment, you may also want to add style with an attractive looking heater; the many designs now available mean you can choose minimalism to aid focus, bright colours for inspiration or soft curves to give a relaxed feel.

So what are the different heating options available for garden buildings?

ELECTRIC RADIATORS

Water and oil filled electric radiators

The water inside a water-filled electric radiator is heated by an electric element and is used as a heat reservoir. Oil-filled electric radiators are heated electrically; the oil is not burnt but again is used as a heat reservoir. Both types of electric radiators work on the same principle and have similar running costs.

Pros

  • Wall mounted and floor standing models available;
  • Many floor mounted versions can be plugged into a socket, so there are no installation costs and the radiators are often portable;
  • Wide range of contemporary and traditional styles available. From minimalist sleek designs like the Electric Royce (which is made of lightweight aluminium), to classic column style cast iron radiators like the Electric Etonian;
  • Many are available with timers and thermostats; and
  • Some styles heat up quickly (particularly those made of lightweight aluminium); others cool down slowly (such as those made of cast iron).

Cons

  • The wall-mounted versions don’t sit as close to the wall as some of the electric radiant panel radiators currently on the market.

Electric radiant panel radiators 

Electric panel radiators radiate heat (rather than convecting it) and don’t contain any liquid. These radiators have become extremely popular in recent times, due to their efficient, environmental and practical qualities. One of the best electric panel radiators around is the iRad from Feature Radiators, which is beautifully designed, slim, flat and sits close to the wall.

Pros

  • Lightweight;
  • Sits close to the wall;
  • Many sizes, finishes and colours available;
  • Heats up quickly;
  • Radiates warmth without “blowing”;
  • Warms both objects and the surrounding air;
  • Available with thermostats and timers; and
  • Precise, focused, highly efficient heating.

Cons

  • Almost always wall-mounted, so there will need to be at least some wall space available.

Wood burners

A wood-burning stove burns wood fuel and wood-derived biomass fuel whilst creating heat.

Pros

  • Lovely cosy feel with attractive real fire flame;
  • · Carbon neutral, if fuel comes from sustainable sources;
  • · Warms both objects and the surrounding air; and
  • · Relatively low running costs.

Cons

  • Lack of controllability, which can lead to high temperatures;
  • Sourcing and moving around fuel can be difficult and messy;
  • Demands time and effort on a daily basis to keep it running;
  • Ash created needs to be cleaned up;
  • Requires reasonable amount of space, taking up both wall and floor space; and
  • Significant installation costs.

Fan Heaters

A fan heater works by passing air over a heating element, this heats up the air, which then leaves the heater, warming up the surrounding room.

Pros

  • Heats up a room quickly;
  • · Warms both objects and the surrounding air;
  • · Relatively small so doesn’t take up much floor space; and
  • No installation costs.

Cons

  • As soon as its switched off, the room will cool down quickly;
  • Fan creates noise;
  • Often unattractive;
  • Uses a lot of energy resulting in high running costs; and
  • Heat is blown out rather than convected or radiated, which can create a stuffy and snoozy environment.

Infrared heating panels

Infrared heating panels are a relatively new idea in the UK but have been widely available in Europe for more than ten years. Infrared heaters heat through the use of infrared waves.

Pros

  • Focused heating, infrared waves only heat what they hit;
  • Provide heat rapidly;
  • Reasonably efficient to run;
  • Can be fitted onto the ceiling to keep them out of the way; and
  • Thermostats and timers available.

Cons

  • Only heat the objects that the infrared waves hit. If you sit facing an infrared heater, then the back of your body and head and any part below the heater will remain cold.
  • The surrounding air is not heated at all.
  • · Potential fire hazard – As heating is focused and direct, there may be a risk of fire if the heater is placed too close to an object. For example, if an infrared heater fell onto a wood floor.

Electric underfloor heating

Electric underfloor heating consists of a foil heat mat containing heating wires, which warm the floor surface which in turn heats the air above it. The foil mat must be laid under the laminate or wooden flooring intended for the garden building.

Pros

  • No wall space required;
  • Nice feeling under foot;
  • When working to an optimum, whole room is evenly heated with an ambient background temperature;
  • Many are available with thermostats and timers; and
  • Relatively low running costs.

Cons

  • May not have sufficient capacity to provide adequate heat for building – depending on level of insulation, ceiling height, and amount of glass;
  • Relatively high installation costs;
  • Insulated floor required;
  • Must be installed under the floor, so may not be a desirable option where the flooring is already down;
  • Slow to respond, can take up to 3 hours to get up to temperature, so forward planning needed and can take a long time to cool down;
  • Limits choice of floor-coverings; and
  • If it fails, the cost and inconvenience of repair will be significant, as flooring may need to be removed or replaced.

Portable gas heaters

Historically, a popular option for heating rooms or outbuildings particularly where there was no power source. Power is provided to these heaters via gas bottles that sit at the bottom of the heater.

Pros

  • High heat output;
  • Self contained heaters, requiring no external power source;
  • No installation charges; and
  • Portable.

Cons

  • Safety – you must not place items on top or directly in front of gas heaters. This may be a challenge if you are working in a small space;
  • Unpleasant gas odour;
  • Adequate ventilation is vital to prevent a build up of dangerous fumes;
  • Risk of carbon monoxide leak; and
  • Large bulky items taking up valuable space, both when in use and in storage.

 

Conclusion

Whatever type of garden room heating you choose, you must ensure that it has the capacity to heat the relevant space. It is important to maximize the power used to efficiently provide heat whilst minimizing energy wastage through the use of good insulation, timers and thermostats.

Bear in mind that these days having a comfortable warm outbuilding doesn’t mean you need to compromise on style with ugly, bulky and/or ineffective heating options. There is now a wide range of stylish, safe yet efficient electric heating solutions available.

For more information on finding the most suitable heating product for your garden building, speak to a heating expert such as Feature Radiators. Visit their showroom where they have over 160 radiators on display and expert advice on hand, call their expert team directly on 01274 567789 or browse their electric radiator range at: http://www.featureradiators.co.uk/Electric.htm

The Stainless Steel Abilio Umbrella Stand, as designed by European experts, Zack, is a stunning contemporary piece, ideal for the home, work place, or indeed any establishment. It will certainly be a welcome sight when you come in from the rain, and in sleek brushed stainless steel it’s a great eye-catching focal point to any room.
Abilio Umbrella Stand
The construction is certainly substantial, but thankfully the frame itself is slight enough not to take up too much room, making it perfect for the hallway. The Abilio Umbrella Stand is capable of containing at least four umbrellas at a time, and a rubber protector ensures the umbrella tips will not damage the base and vice versa.

Available now from Proleno, on the web at www.proleno.com, on the phone on 0207 965 7199

Are you aware that 2 NYC based architects designed an asymmetrical home with fixed budget of $250,000?

Architects and Jersey City citizens Richard Garber (assistant professor at NJ Institute of Technology’s College of Architecture and Design in Newark) and Nicole Robertson of GRO Architects in NYC rose to the challenge of constructing and overseeing the building of a single-family house that’s a genuine proof of both progressive design and environmental-friendly technology.

Denis Carpenter not long ago purchased a compact vacant lot and, to achieve his concern for the environment, wanted a residence that was efficient and very easy to maintain.
Eco Friendly Home
What’s so particular about this home?

– Inside the home, on the floor level, radiant heating below the exposed cement floor warms the full bathing room and two bedrooms.

– In the attic-like 2nd level, sleek aluminum and stainless steel railings accent the bamboo stairway to the mezzanine, family room and an artfully designed kitchen made with restored devices and cabinetry.

– Passive cooling strategies like ceiling fans and clerestory windows allow occupants to be cool during summer months and hot during winter.

– The roof contains 260 feet square of photovoltaic panels that deliver around 2,000 kilowatts of energy per year to a battery stored in the basement.

This single family 1,600-square-foot home was constructed in six months and won a 2009 American Institute of Architects merit award and the 2010 Green Building of the Year Award from the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency.

Ok now what? How can you transform your home into an ecologically-friendly home without investing too much money?

If you’re remodeling a home, execute an energy review first to help you determine what energy efficiency improvements should and can be made to your home. In this way you’ll calculate how much energy your home consumes.

My favorite eco-friendly technique is the passive solar cooling/heating design.

Passive solar signifies that your home’s windows, walls, and floors can be created to collect, store, and distribute solar energy in the form of heat in the winter and reject solar heat in the summer.

Existing buildings can be adapted or “retrofitted” to passively collect and store solar heat too.

The following five elements constitute a comprehensive passive solar home design:

The Collector – The area through which sunlight enters the building (usually windows).

The Absorber – The hard, darkened surface of the storage element. Sunlight hits the surface and is absorbed as heat.

The Thermal Mass – The elements that retain or store the heat generated by sunlight below or behind the absorber surface.

The Distributor – The method by which solar heat circulates from the collection and storage points to different areas of the house.

The Controller – Roof overhangs can be used to shade the aperture area during summer season or Thermostats that signal a fan to turn on.

The author – Cynthia Booth – shares knowledge for the architecture careers blog. It’s a nonprofit web site dedicated to provide help for young architects who need resources for their careers. With this she would like to increase the attention on eco-friendly home design and change the general public conception of energy efficiency.

Building new homes in back gardens can actually bring positive benefits to a community says Jason Orme, Editor of Homebuilding & Renovating magazine, in response to yesterday’s Government announcement that councils in England are to get greater powers to stop developers building homes on gardens.

“While it’s fair to say that many gardens end up being turned into large apartment blocks, an equally large number end up being turned into modestly-sized, appropriate, sustainable individual homes that meet the direct needs of local people.” said Jason. “Building homes in this way increases housing stock and protects our countryside.”

There is concern that restricting the ability to build homes on gardens will further impact on the housing shortage, reported to be at crisis point by the Home Builders Federation in March. The rapid growth of the UK population – estimated to reach 70 million by 2029 – means there is a continual and urgent need for more housing stock. The biggest problem is where these houses can be built. Planners say that stopping ‘garden grabbing’ could mean more development on greenfield sites. “If its garden grabbing out, then it may be countryside grabbing in.” said The Planning Officers Society.

It was only in December that Grant Shapps, the Housing Minister, said that he wanted to tap into the vast number of people who are now willing to build their own homes. “Whilst house-building in general has been suffering, the self-build community has been growing. Most people will be surprised to learn that last year the second largest home builder wasn’t one of the big household names but an army of individuals who call themselves self-builders.”

Garden self-build

House built in Yorkshire on a garden plot by local people who didn’t want to see it developed into an apartment block!


Julian Owen, from Nottingham based Julian Owen Architects and member of the Association of Self Build Architects, comments “We find that self builders tend to be more sensitive about the build process, focussing on sustainable homes that are environmentally friendly and that blend appropriately with the local architecture.”

“The majority of self build homes are built on garden land” says Michael Holmes, spokesperson for The Homebuilding & Renovating Shows. “In simple terms, making it harder to get planning permission to build new homes on gardens means it will be more difficult for ordinary people to build their own home.”

To find out more about building your own home or how this new policy could affect your building plans, visit The Homebuilding & Renovating Show, on at Sandown Park, Surrey on 26 & 27 June. For more information and tickets visit www.homebuildingshow.co.uk or call 0844 5811377.

modern house at night Are you interested in picking up the latest in innovative products and services, inspirational design ideas, renovation tips and cost saving solutions for the home? Then look no further! The Homebuilding & Renovating Show, the UK’s only dedicated self-build and home improvement show, is at the Bath & West Showground, Shepton Mallet on 21st & 22nd November.

The South West Homebuilding & Renovating Show features over 120 exhibitors, 36 free seminars and masterclasses as well as the unique opportunity to get advice from the Experts. This really is a must-visit event.

Whether you are looking for land to build your own home, want to extend your property to create an open plan kitchen or are thinking about converting your loft or basement to create extra space, you will find the products, services, advice and information to help create your perfect home.

Want to find out more about how you can improve your home? Then attend How to Successfully Add Space and Value to your Home’, a free seminar at 11.30am on both days. Concerned about your impact on the environment and want to do more? Learn more about reducing your carbon footprint by attending ‘How to Heat Your Home for Nothing: Dream or Reality?’ a free seminar at 1.30pm on both days.

If you’re still at the planning stage of your building project, then take along your drawings, plans or just your ideas and speak to one of the many experts at the Show and get some great advice.

For more information and tickets, visit www.homebuildingshow.co.uk. Tickets are £5 in advance by calling 0844 5811377 or £8 on the door (children under 16 go free).

Are you interested in picking up the latest in innovative products and services, inspirational design ideas, renovation tips and cost saving solutions for the home? Then look no further! The Homebuilding & Renovating Show, the UK’s only dedicated self-build and home improvement show, is coming to Harrogate from 6th to 8th November.

Curved House

Curved House


On at Harrogate International Centre, The Northern Homebuilding & Renovating Show features over 210 exhibitors, 54 free seminars and masterclasses as well as the unique opportunity to get advice from the Experts. This really is a must-visit event.

Whether you are looking for land to build your own home, want to extend your property to create an open plan kitchen or are thinking about converting your loft or basement to create extra space, you will find the products, services, advice and information to help create your perfect home.

Want to find out more about how you can improve your home? Then attend ‘How to Successfully Add Space and Value to your Home’, a free seminar at 11.30am every day. Concerned about your impact on the environment and want to do more? Learn more about reducing your carbon footprint by attending ‘How to Heat Your Home for Nothing: Dream or Reality?’ a free seminar at 1.30pm every day. Visit www.homebuildingshow.co.uk to find out more about the other free seminars and the masterclasses that run on the three days of the Show.

If you’re still at the planning stage of your building project, then bring along your drawings, plans or just your ideas and speak to one of the many experts at the Show and get some great advice. Visit the Homebuilding & Renovating magazine stand where Michael Holmes, TV presenter and Editor-in-Chief of Real Homes and Homebuilding & Renovating magazines, will be heading up a team of experts specialising in renovating, design, planning, self-building and greener living.

The Northern Homebuilding & Renovating Show is on at Harrogate International Centre from 6th to 8th November. The Show features over 210 exhibitors, 54 free seminars and masterclasses and the chance to Ask the Experts. For more information and tickets, visit www.homebuildingshow.co.uk. Tickets are £5 in advance by calling 0844 5811377 or £8 on the door (children under 16 go free).

Low energy luton100 green apartments are to be built in Luton (United Kingdom) by the end of 2010 as part of Milieu Architects’ environmentally sustainable project.

The apartments will use solar collectors and wind turbines, and will turn waste materials into energy to keep heating bills down to around £100 per year. It is all part of Milieu Architects’ ambitious plans for ‘Luton’s first environmentally responsible development’.

Peter Lunter, The Project Architect, said:

“The project has been designed to achieve nearly all Zero Energy Development standards, and hence the block has minimum space heating requirements. The scheme employs a wide range of sustainable features that contribute to its code 5 for Sustainable Homes rating where the grade 6 is the zero carbon level. However, the project has a pre-designed upgrade path to full Zero Energy status.”

The plan involves developing the derelict, recently crime-ridden, site on the northern side of Collingdon Street in Luton, and could spark an ‘urban renaissance’, according to businessman Jan Telensky whose company has proposed building the apartments.

The scheme, formally known as ‘Low Energy Apartments (LEA) project’, is already receiving the support and co-operation of Luton Borough Council as it has been submitted to approach the planning stages, and Milieu Architects, which is made up of former University of Luton students, is confident that it will become a reality by the end of 2010.

The idea of the innovative project is that it will provide environmentally sound housing and social facilities at an affordable cost and make a considerable contribution towards environmental sustainability, while enhancing the sense of community by regenerating the site into an attractive residential area.

The building will be topped with visually attractive green roofs whose structural function is designed to protect the waterproofing layer from extreme temperature and abrasion, produce oxygen and reduce carbon dioxide production.

Other key sustainable features include construction from thermal materials that store heat during warm months and release it during the colder months.

southern showAre you interested in picking up the latest in innovative products and services, inspirational design ideas, renovation tips and cost saving solutions for the home? Then look no further! The Homebuilding & Renovating Show, the UK’s only dedicated self-build and home improvement show, is coming to the South of England.

On at Sandown Park on 27 and 28 June, The Southern Homebuilding & Renovating Show features over 150 exhibitors, 36 free seminars and masterclasses as well as the unique opportunity to get advice from the Experts. This really is a must-visit event.

Whether you are looking for land to build your own home, want to extend your property to create an open plan kitchen or are thinking about converting your loft or basement to create extra space you will find the products, services, advice and information to help create your perfect home.

Want to find out more about how you can improve your home? Then attend ‘How to extend and improve your home cost-effectively’, a free seminar at 11am on both days. Concerned about your impact on the environment and want to do more? Learn more about reducing your carbon footprint by attending ‘Zero-Energy Homes: can you really heat your home for free?’ a free seminar at 1.30pm on both days. Visit www.homebuildingshow.co.uk to find out more about the other free seminars and the masterclasses that run on both days of the Show.

If you’re still at the planning stage of your building project then bring along your drawings, plans or just your ideas and speak to one of the many experts at the Show and get some great advice. Visit the Homebuilding & Renovating magazine stand where Michael Holmes, TV presenter and Editor in Chief of Real Homes and Homebuilding & Renovating magazines, will be heading up a team of experts specialising in renovating, design, planning, self-building, and greener living.

As an added bonus, your ticket will give you free entry to the co-located Kitchen & Bathroom Show, the UK’s only dedicated kitchen and bathroom event that will help you transform your kitchen from sad to sensational or your bathroom to a spa retreat. Meet over 60 individual kitchen manufacturers and suppliers, often not seen on the High Street, who will inspire with bespoke designs and state of the art technology.

The Southern Homebuilding & Renovating Show is on at Sandown Park on 27 and 28 June. The Show features over 150 exhibitors, 36 free seminars and masterclasses and the chance to Ask the Experts. For more information and tickets, visit www.homebuildingshow.co.uk. Tickets are £5 in advance by calling 0871 945 4547 or £8 on the door (children under 16 go free).

east of england home building and renovation logoWould-be renovators and self-builders should see 2009 as an excellent time to start a building project. For renovators and self-builders in the East of England, the relaunch of The Eastern Homebuilding & Renovating Show, on at exec Peterborough on 30 and 31 May, means the best advice and information is now available to help make the most of their homes.

The recent success of The National Homebuilding & Renovating Show clearly indicates that many homeowners are looking to build their way out of the recession. There could well be an increase in the 20,000 each year who currently achieve this goal as they take advantage of the availability of more plots and contractors as well as competitive pricing. Homeowners looking to improve, rather than move, could also take advantage of keen prices in the current economic climate to make significant savings on their budgets if they plan carefully, shop around and do their homework.

east of england showWhether you are renovating, extending, building or wanting to make the most of your home, now is a great time to visit The Eastern Homebuilding & Renovating Show. Housed in the fabulous new facilities at exec Peterborough, the Show offers over 80 exhibitors, 36 free seminars and masterclasses over the two days as well as the opportunity to ‘Ask the Experts’.

Take along your plans, outline drawings or just your ideas and speak to one of the many experts at the Show. Michael Holmes, TV presenter and editor in Chief of Real Homes and Homebuilding & Renovating magazines, will be heading up a team of experts specialising in renovating, design, planning, self-building, and greener living.

For more information and tickets, visit www.homebuildingshow.co.uk. Tickets are £5 in advance by calling 0871 945 4547 or £8 on the door.

homebuilding and renovating show logoWould-be renovators and self-builders should see 2009 as an excellent time to start a building project. The National Homebuilding & Renovating Show, on at the NEC from 19th to 22nd March can help you make the most of your home.

A 34% nationwide increase in the number of plots available for self-builders makes 2009 an excellent time to consider building your own home. Additionally, with the opportunity to negotiate hard on labour and materials prices in the current economic climate, potential self-builders and renovators could make significant savings on their budgets if they plan carefully, shop around and do their homework.
homebuilding show
Whether you are renovating, extending, building or wanting to make the most of your home, now is a great time to visit The National Homebuilding & Renovating Show. In its seventeenth year and attracting almost 50,000 visitors over the four days, the 2009 Show offers over 500 exhibitors, 96 free seminars and masterclasses, The Eco Homes Show, ‘Ask the Experts’, Specialist Technical Zones and much more.

Michael HolmesTake along your plans, outline drawings or just your ideas and speak to one of the many experts at the Show. Michael Holmes, TV presenter and editor in Chief of Real Homes and Homebuilding & Renovating magazines, will be heading up a team of experts specialising in renovating, design, planning, self-building, and greener living.

The National Homebuilding & Renovating Show is on at the NEC, Birmingham, from 19th to 22nd March 2009.

For more information and tickets, visit www.national.homebuildingshow.co.uk. Tickets are £10 in advance by calling 0871 945 4547 or £14 on the door (children go free).