Many period properties have been designed with thick walls and small windows to keep them warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Whilst these qualities help them to be energy efficient throughout the year in terms of the cost of heating or cooling the environment, rooms can be dark and gloomy particularly during the winter, requiring excessive use of electric lighting even during the daytime. Terraced houses, by the nature of their design, are often starved of natural lighting as light is limited to the front and rear of the property.
In addition to reducing or eliminating the need for electric lighting at work or at home, the introduction of additional daylight into a property can have a therapeutic effect, lifting our spirits and giving us a general feeling of well being. We have a natural human desire for change which is brought about by the seasons, the weather and the time of day. The direction of natural light provides shadow patterns which inform the appearance of objects and surfaces, giving them the appearance that we associate with the natural world.
The most obvious method for introducing daylight into a building is via windows and doors but these often cannot be altered in period and protected properties. Other devices such as skylights, light tubes, and roof lanterns within the existing structure or in new extensions are becoming increasingly popular alternatives for both new and period homes.
Use roof lanterns and bi-folding doors
Like modern versions of traditional orangeries, flat roofed garden and day rooms incorporating roof lanterns, windows and bi-folding doors are becoming increasingly popular additions to period and traditional homes and offices, providing additional living space for lounging, working, dining or cooking which is bathed in natural light. In general, new extensions to historic and traditional buildings should comply with the standards of energy efficiency as set out in the current Building Regulations so can benefit from new glazing technology – double glazing, solar control and easy clean finishes.
Roof lanterns and bi-folding doors can also be used to transform the appearance and functionality of an existing extension or flat roof.
*Alterations and extensions to Listed Properties will always require Listed Building Consent from your local planning authority and can qualify for a reduction in VAT.