How housebuilders can beat the heat

Britain is arguably the only country in the world that makes sunshine into a national emergency. Today’s freak heatwave, which saw the mercury rise past 35 degrees, saw trains buckle under the heat, ambulances called and numerous health warnings issued for Britons who apparently don’t know it’s a good idea to drink water if you’re thirsty.

According to Gwyn Roberts, Home Quality Mark (HQM) project leader and BRE Homes and communities team leader, our houses also aren’t currently built to withstand high temperatures. Roberts says we need to build home which can batter handle extreme warm weather conditions.

“Taking into account today’s freak heatwave we need to at solutions to best allow homes to combat the heat, one that takes into account all the other challenges of building a home in the UK,” he said. “The Home Quality Mark takes a split level approach to temperature, helping designers reduce the risks of uncontrollable temperatures, in today’s climate and future climate scenarios.

“The first assessment takes data from the SAP assessment, and then asks a serious of additional questions.  This includes information around the surrounding area including the amount of materials that absorb the sun’s rays rather than reflect it. The assessment also looks at details about the building, the ventilation system, the heating system (if there are communal heating pipes), the dwellings geometry and the ability to open the windows, taking into account security, noise and pollution concerns.

“This relatively simple approach is likely to suffice as an assessment for the vast majority of homes being built in the UK. Where there are complex buildings (i.e. dense urban, high rise with communal heating) then a dynamic thermal modelling might be required.

“Using the Home Quality Mark and gaining certification against the standard helps future occupants of the building have confidence that you have done as much as possible to make them comfortable (and ultimately healthy) on days like today.”

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