New and refurbished homes have a higher risk of overheating, reports the NHBC (National House-Building Council) Foundation. The new report released by the NHBCF incorporates existing information, case studies, evidence, and industry workshop outcomes. The report highlights the need for a common definition of “overheating”, and discusses possible parameters for such a definition, and offers guidance on reducing overheating.
A warming climate with increased risk of high heat periods, in addition to an ageing population and increasing urbanisation, means the risk (and unhealthy effects) of overheating is expected to increase. Particularly important may be the rise in night-time temperatures, and the inability to cool dwellings adequately, as the body uses the night rest to recover from heat stresses of the day. Though how and why overheating in dwellings occurs is well understood, there is scant evidence on preventing it effectively, and existing models cannot always predict it. We will need to minimise the build-up of heat in future designs, and look into better ventilation, particularly at night, and investigate adaptation options for existing homes.