Overheating in homes: The hot topic we are finally talking about

Overheating in homes has been a growing concern for many years, due to the increasing trend to create airtight houses and the impact it can have on our sleep, our health and our well-being. Noise and air quality issues have also added to the problem, emphasising the requirement for good architectural design without compromising the health and safety of the occupants.

The good news is that there has been a huge increase in the development of technologies and solutions which not only combat overheating, but also do this whilst keeping in mind two major considerations: Occupant health and energy efficiency. There has also been a sharp rise in public awareness over the issue: This latest BBC article on the subject discusses the need to implement design techniques to ensure both cooling and energy efficiency are achieved. Yet health is still under-reported as a concern. Overheating and poor Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) can lead to devastating issues for occupants, from mental health conditions such as depression to serious respiratory conditions like asthma.

overheating in homes, discomfort, indoor climate
Discomfort occurs when indoor temperatures exceed 28 degrees

It is essential that measures to control overheating, ventilation, noise and air quality can all be considered and designed into a project from the very beginning, rather than being a later action which may prove costly and difficult to manage. Designing in methods to combat overheating and improve IAQ will also future-proof the property against rising global temperatures and other complications.

We now have the technology, skills and opportunity to apply advanced thermo-modelling techniques to design out overheating in all buildings. It’s vital we start designing and delivering housing which achieves the balance between comfort, health and energy efficiency. The building services industry has already started to treat this matter seriously, with the introduction of CIBSE’s TM59 to support designing out overheating in homes, but it’s time for more formal measures to be put in place and put IAQ, with all its consequences, higher up the agenda.

Nigel Coston, Technical Director, Zehnder Group UK

Twitter:@ Zehnder_UK @Bisqueradiators
LinkedIn: Zehnder Group UK Ltd Bisque Radiators

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