Building regulations need to address overheating in new homes

22 Jun 2021

The newly published Independent Assessment of UK Climate Risk from the Climate Change Committee calls for the updating of building regulations to address overheating in new homes. In respect of risks to human health, wellbeing and productivity, the report highlights the increasing problem from exposure to heat in homes and other buildings. Out of the Committee’s list of priorities, this risk is notable for being the one where policies still remain largely absent. To address this, a number of key actions are identified, which The Concrete Centre fully support.  

This includes updating the building regulations or other policy measures to address overheating in new homes through passive cooling. The use of passive cooling is simple and effective, centring on the combination of shading, ventilation and thermal mass. Another key action detailed in the report is the need for better coordination between decarbonisation and adaptation policies and strategies for homes to manage potential trade-offs between increasing air-tightness for energy efficiency gains, and overheating risk. This is an issue that must be addressed if we are to achieve the net zero carbon goal without the unintended consequence of new homes needing air conditioning in the near future; this too points to a need for the building regulations to do more in respect of passive cooling measures. 

In April, The Concrete Centre expressed its concerns that elements of new MHCLG proposals represent a backward step on addressing overheating in new homes. Read more 

Download our Designing to Avoid Overheating guide.