The Leading News & Information Service For The Facilities, Workplace & Built Environment Community

Construction Sector Must Manage Building Overheating Through Healthy Design

Construction Sector Must Manage Building Overheating Through Healthy Design
22 June 2021 | Updated 24 June 2021
 

Following news from the Climate Change Committee that infrastructure is unprepared for rising temperatures, polymer specialists are warning that that consultants and contractors must ensure future buildings are resilient against hotter conditions.

Energy efficiency measures mean more residential and commercial buildings are sealed and insulated, yet few measures are in place to mitigate the warmer weather facing the UK each summer.

However, taking account of these changing weather conditions comes as part of a wider challenge for construction professionals to ensure wellbeing and occupant comfort are built into a development through "healthy design".

 

“As we continue to see fluctuations between colder winters and hotter summers, consultants and contractors must design buildings to be able to cope with these contrasting conditions. Crucially, occupant wellbeing should not be impaired during either season as a result of design and specification decisions.”

–Steve Richmond

Head of Marketing and Technical, REHAU Building Solutions

 

Sustainability as a Design Issue

 

Action to improve the nation’s resilience is failing to keep pace with the impacts of a warming planet and increasing climate risks facing the UK. That is the conclusion of a comprehensive independent assessment led by the Climate Change Committee (CCC) which considered a catalogue of risks and opportunities affecting every aspect of life in the UK.

The CCC identifies eight priority risk areas that need immediate attention, at the latest in the next two years. This includes:

 

  • Risks to human health, wellbeing and productivity from increased exposure to heat in homes and other buildings
  • Multiple risks to the UK from climate change impacts overseas

 

Research of 520 M&E contractors and architects in polymer specialist REHAU’s latest report "Designing Healthy Apartments" found the majority of respondents felt sustainability would be the most important design issue over the next ten years.

However, with climate change likely to result in ever hotter summers, Steve Richmond, Head of Marketing and Technical at REHAU Building Solutions, warns that sustainable design must include cooling measures to deliver suitable conditions for occupants.

“In the drive for sustainability, the focus for many consultants and contractors has been on driving energy efficiency for heating,” says Richmond. “Yet when it comes to the summer months, occupants can face unbearably hot conditions as a result of steps put in place to better insulate building stock.”

“As we continue to see fluctuations between colder winters and hotter summers, consultants and contractors must design buildings to be able to cope with these contrasting conditions. Crucially, occupant wellbeing should not be impaired during either season as a result of design and specification decisions.”

 

Sick Building Syndrome

 

REHAU’s report also found that 44 per cent of respondents felt wellbeing was "value-engineered" out of projects later on, further putting into question the longevity and sustainability of buildings being constructed in the current boom. With this in mind, Richmond is highlighting the importance of identifying innovative building services during the design stage, so structures can better cope with the ongoing effects of climate change.

Richmond says: “As health and wellbeing, particularly in the work environment, are under the microscope at the moment, consultants and contractors are under pressure deliver healthier buildings. Reducing the risk of ‘Sick Building Syndrome’ by using circulating water to heat and cool, Thermally Activated Building Structures (TABS) are an efficient solution for residential and commercial buildings. Using water circulating through pipework the concrete, the quick-to-install solution can reduce air exchange in conjunction with ventilation systems resulting in better air quality for occupants."

Picture: a photograph of a construction worker looking a piece of paper on a construction site

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 22 June 2021

Share



Related Articles

British Council for Offices Defines Standards for the Net-Zero Workplace

The British Council for Offices has released several new reports to help the commercial property industry to future proof the office sector when it comes to...

 Read Full Article
Pioneering Materials Passports for Circular Economy at London’s Edenica

Designed by Fletcher Priest Architects and now under construction in the City of London, the 94,000 sq ft Edenica office development at 100 Fetter Lane is on track to set...

 Read Full Article
BBP Launches Guide for Real Estate Climate Change Resilience

The Better Buildings Partnership (BBP) has launched a new guide for BBP Climate Commitment signatories and other real estate companies on climate...

 Read Full Article
First UK Commercial Building to Achieve the Top Three Wellbeing Certifications 

Bloom Clerkenwell has become the first commercial building in the UK to achieve the highest accreditations for wellbeing, sustainability and digital...

 Read Full Article
BRE Urges Tory Leadership Candidates to Pledge to Decarbonise the UK’s Buildings

Gillian Charlesworth, CEO of the Building Research Establishment, has penned an open letter to Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss, to urge them to publish credible and effective...

 Read Full Article
Is 10 Downing Street Fit for Purpose for the Next PM?

Cramped, not easily adapted for COVID security and like navigating a “rabbit warren” – can Number 10 Downing Street still function as an efficient...

 Read Full Article
9 in 10 Health Leaders Think Ageing NHS Building Stock is a Health Risk

A significant number of health leaders polled by the NHS Confederation feel that patient safety is at risk from “old and sometimes extremely dilapidated buildings...

 Read Full Article
Climate Change and Security Officer Wellbeing

Rises in the cost of living, extreme weather changes and geopolitical upheaval are all factors that will have both long and short term effects on the wellbeing of...

 Read Full Article
What Impact Will Climate Change Have on the Security Industry? – Part Two

How can the security industry as a whole help to lower carbon emissions?  In part two of this series on climate change and the security industry, Julie Hulme,...

 Read Full Article
What Impact Will Climate Change Have on the Security Industry? – Part One

Despite the security sector not being a key industry contributing to carbon emissions, it is expected to face significant impacts due to climate change affecting the...

 Read Full Article