Over the last few days, I have seen a few posts on social media about people braving the cold in their garden rooms. This has me flummoxed, as a quality garden room should be as comfortable a space to use, as any room in your house.
Executive Garden Rooms use impressive amounts of PIR insulation in their bespoke garden room designs, for instance, 140mm in the walls.
A guest blog from The Home Office Company about choosing a garden office.
In the late 1990’s when garden offices first started to become popular there were only 1 or 2 companies in the market; since then, the rise in the numbers of homeowners seeking to add more space to their homes without the upheaval of moving house has increased and so too have the numbers of companies jumping on the bandwagon.
A garden office, be it stand alone or attached to the house must obviously be constructed as fit for purpose; so if you are intending to use your room all year round, then your garden building must be able to keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
Unlike conservatories, which can become more like a greenhouse in the hot summer months and a refrigerator in winter, properly insulated garden buildings will need very little additional heating and only the opening of a door or window for cooling.
Building regulations stipulate that glazing must allow for conservation of fuel and power, and give protection against impact so keep an eye out for the likes of Pilkington K-glass, one of the toughest and best insulated glazing solutions available.
Buildings offering insulated walls, floors and ceilings should also be at the top of your shopping list. Whilst they may cost a little more, this all-round insulation is a must if you are to be able to fully enjoy your garden building 24/7, 365 days a year. This insulation (which must be CFC-free) will also give superb sound insulation if you have a budding musician in the family!
And don’t think that thick walls are the answer- some of the best insulation materials on the market are less than 3 inches thick and give the same or better insulation than walls approaching 12 inches in thickness PLUS you don’t lose masses of floor space!
So whether your taste is traditional or modern, big or small, the perfect combination of style and comfort is out there.
The Home Office Company offer a range of fully insulated garden offices, visit their website for more information.
So the weather has turned cold, and we have been reading on Twitter messages from people in their shed offices saying how cold they are! This concerns us at The Garden Room Guide, as a well built garden office should be as comfortable to use in the winter as a room in the main house. The clue to these Tweeters problems may be the term ‘shed office’ some garden offices are just that – glorified sheds with minimal insulation and terrible u-values, which require significant heating which is then lost through the thin walls and roof.
The garden offices featured on The Garden Room Guide are built more like timber framed houses and the manufactures try to meet if not exceed the current building regulation standards for insulation.
You should consider when buying a garden office how you are going to heat it, some suppliers offer a heating solution as standard whilst others don’t offer any heating at all so it is important to read garden office specifications carefully and talk to the different suppliers.
When choosing your heating type it’s a good idea to choose a type of heating that has a timer and a thermostat which will keep the garden office at a constant temperature, the messages on Twitter say how people are having to go down to their shed office a couple of hours before they start work, to turn the heating on, a heating system with a timer would overcome this problem and let you programme the heating to turn on and warm up before you are due at your desk. A thermostat could be set so the heating kicks in when the temperature drops to a certain level, this would mean that your garden office would never get too cold – important for you as the user but also for computer equipment and soft furnishings.
Suggested Garden Office Heating
Underfloor heating has become a popular option in garden offices over recent years. A mat with heating cables is laid under the finished floor. Economical to run underfloor heating covers the whole of the garden office floor area and the heat rises, so the room as a whole stays warm. Underfloor heating systems can be fitted with timers and thermostats so you can control when the heating is on and select the desired temperature for the garden office
Oil Filled Radiators
Oil filled radiators are free standing heaters, often on wheels that can be positioned where you want in the garden office, you can keep them on low and they provide good background heat and quickly heat the room fully when you turn the heating up. Better quality oil filled radiators come with timers and thermostats so they kick in when the temperature falls to a certain level and switch off when the desired level is reached.
Electric Convector Heaters
Although they can be free standing electric convector heaters are normally mounted on the wall of the garden office like a radiator, they blow out warm air which heats the office quickly, better quality models come with timers and thermostats. The downside of this type of heating is that it dries the air out and the room can become hot quickly.
Whatever type of garden office heating you choose you should make sure the heater has sufficient wattage to heat the size of the building and this should be coupled with well insulated floors, walls and roof and double glazing.
So, if you want to be warm as you work in your garden office choose a building that is insulated like a timber frame house not a shed with a little insulation added!
On the 1st October 2010 changes to Part L of the Building Regulations come into effect. Part L deals with how well a building conserves fuel and power.
Whilst garden rooms don’t have to comply with Building Regulations unless they are over 15sqm and used for sleeping accommodation, many garden room suppliers do build their garden rooms to Building Regulation standards – which is a good thing!
Many garden room suppliers state that their buildings u-values (the rate at which heat is lost from a building – which Part L controls)out perform the Building Regulation standards for new buildings, which is a great selling point as it means the garden room will be comfortable to use all year round and cost effective to run.
So what is a u-value? It’s the measurement of the transmission of heat through an element such as a wall, roof or glass. In timber frame construction each element of the wall, such as the exterior cladding, sheathing, studwork, insulation and plasterboard will have a u-value and a garden room designer can work out the combined u-value of the wall, the lower the combined u-value the better performing the wall. U-values are expressed in W/m2 which equals the amount of heat in Watts that is lost per square meter of material. For example a wall with a u-value of 0.30W/m2 will lose 0.30 Watts for every m2 of surface area per degree of temperature difference between the inside and outside of the building.
The changes to Part L from 1st October 2010 lower the target u-values for walls, floors and roofs (remember the lower the u-value the better) meaning that garden rooms built to these new Building Regulation standards will perform even better. Below is a table of the existing u-values for a new build and the figures for 1st October 2010 onwards.
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As a customer it is important that you check the claimed u-values of a garden room with this table, especially if your supplier claims to exceed the Building Regulations for a new build house!