Remodeling  your house cannot be improvised. The energy challenges of Remodeling are enormous. There are questions to ask yourself in order to make the right choices and properly prepare your site.

Remodeling Tricks

1. Study the situation of the house 

Before buying a house or an apartment to renovate, there are a series of questions to ask. It is even advisable to make a visit with a professional. This allows you to better understand the property and avoid unpleasant surprises.

The localisation

Are access and parking easy on a daily basis? And for the works? Does the district offer facilities (shops, schools, leisure activities, public transport)? What means of transport will be adequate now and in the future?

Orientation

How is the building oriented? Ideally, the living rooms (living room, dining room …) are to the south to take advantage of the heat of the sun. The rooms can be located on the north side because they are less heated. We also look to see if shading (trees, buildings, walls, etc.) can prevent the sun from entering the house.

Town planning

Are there particular urban planning constraints in the district or in the municipality? (example: imposed materials or roof overhang) Are there any easements? Constraints linked to joint ownership? Are there specific Remodeling aids, especially energy?

State of the building

In what condition are the roof, the heating system, the electrical installation, the sanitary facilities, the bay windows? Are there any humidity issues? What are the load-bearing walls? What are the building’s current heating needs? The compulsory PEB certificate gives an estimate of the annual heating needs.

2. Specify a maximum budget

Equity . It is prudent not to devote 100% of your savings to purchases and work. How much of the savings to allocate? Are there other major expenses to plan for in the years to come?

The borrowing capacity . It is essentially determined by the monthly income of the buyer (s). A meeting with your banker is necessary to determine the maximum borrowing capacity.

It is the addition of the own funds intended for the site and the borrowing capacity that determines the maximum Remodeling budget . There is also a safety margin.

3. Draw the living spaces

What living spaces do we need (bedrooms, office, etc.) now and in the future? Where should they be ideally located? Will it be necessary to tear down walls or create new partitions? Is circulation in the house easy? Do the bay windows provide the necessary light? We will take the time to draw sketches to the scale of each floor.

4. Isolate, it’s now or never

Renovation work is a unique opportunity to optimize the insulation of the house. The heavier the Remodeling, the lower the proportion of insulation costs. You might as well be ambitious, it will quickly pay off.

Wallet. The days of cheap energy are over. Houses built before 1945 require on average the equivalent of 3000 liters of fuel oil to heat 150m², or € 1,500 per year minimum For comparison, a low-energy house has an oil bill of around € 400 per year for 150m². 

There are premiums and zero-interest loans in the Walloon Region and in Brussels to carry out this type of work.

The environment. Heating represents 65% of the energy consumption of an average home. This has a significant impact on climate change and the progressive depletion of fossil resources. Insulating homes reduces CO 2 emissions .

Comfort and well-being . A well-insulated home is more comfortable: there are less drafts, the comfort temperature is reached faster and the walls are warmer.

Aiming for a low-energy or even passive Remodeling makes it possible to reduce the energy bill each year and to make significant savings in the long term.

Whole Remodeling

To achieve an ambitious energy objective, the work must cover almost the entire envelope of the house: 

  • insulation of floors, walls, roof;
  • replacement of glazing, drilling of new windows …;
  • reduction of thermal bridges;
  • improved airtightness;
  • possible installation of mechanical ventilation with heat recovery.

6. Estimate the costs

The costs of the remodeling vary greatly depending on the condition of the building, the project and energy ambition, as well as the choice of materials. They range from a few hundred euros per square meter for a light remodeling up to more than 1000 € / m² for a heavy  remodeling. Quotations can be requested from contractors or estimates from the architect if his intervention is necessary as part of a permit application.

7. Surround yourself to confront the project

The intervention of an architect is necessary if the planned work is important. It can help make the synthesis between your project, your energy ambition and your budget. He will also be able to play the orchestra conductor with entrepreneurs and public administrations to obtain planning permission or submit requests for bonuses.

Visiting sites, especially during the Ecobâtisseurs Open House , comparing their ideas with the opinions of relatives and the experience of professionals… This helps to become an informed client and facilitates decision-making.

8. Choose sustainable building materials

Each purchase of materials is the occasion of a choice, sometimes difficult. Natural materials? Re-used or recycled materials? Labeled? Local ? Requiring little embodied energy to manufacture? The cheapest? The Follow the Guide website helps you make smart choices.

9. Choose an economical and efficient heating system

Heat pump, condensing boiler, wood stove… There are many technical possibilities. We choose our heating system according to the level of insulation targeted at the end of the work. Obviously, we will not achieve the same energy performance for light work that improves comfort as for a complete remodeling in low-energy housing. The end result influences the heating requirements. 

10. Choose environmentally friendly finishing materials

Which floor coverings to choose? What wall coverings? These choices are decisive if we want a healthy and comfortable interior. The finishing materials create the everyday atmosphere of the house.