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

New McDonald’s Site is First Net-Zero Restaurant in UK

McDonald’s Market Drayton is the first restaurant in the UK due to be verified as net-zero emissions for construction, using the UK Green Building Council’s...

 Read Full Article
Poor Housing in England is Costing NHS £1.4 Billion a Year

A new report from the Building Research Establishment reveals that poor housing in the UK is costing the NHS £1.4 billion a year, with a further 2.6 million homes...

 Read Full Article
Sustainable Hospitals in Development for Leeds

Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust has set an ambition to meet new standards for greener and more sustainable hospitals in the UK, as part of its Hospitals of the Future...

 Read Full Article
Executives Invited to Join the World's-First Antarctic Climate Expedition

Aurora Expeditions is calling for applications to join the world-first Antarctic Climate Expedition in 2023, led by renowned oceanographer, marine biologist, explorer and...

 Read Full Article
Is 5G the Catalyst Needed to Fight Climate Change?

The accelerated roll-out of 5G connectivity across Europe and the UK will have an immediate and catalysing impact in reducing CO2 emissions, according to a new study...

 Read Full Article
Building Awarded IMMUNE Certification

Navana has secured the world’s first certification for a residential building under the IMMUNE standard which supports the design and management of healthier...

 Read Full Article
Geopolitics of Energy – Who Has the Power?

Power delivered to our homes, institutions and businesses via the gas pipeline network or electricity grid is the result of highly complex international politics,...

 Read Full Article
Contractors Sought for New Sustainable Victoria Office

The largest speculative office scheme to come forward in London since the pandemic is to go ahead. Welput, the central London office fund managed by BentallGreenOak...

 Read Full Article
High Performing Buildings – September's Roundup

In this month's high performing buildings roundup, we are focussing on commercial real estate that's achieving environmental and social excellence. Providing...

 Read Full Article
In Pictures – JetBrains' St Petersburg Office

In 2019, two eight-story towers became the new office of JetBrains in Saint Petersburg, Russia. It is now a best-in-class example of a "green...

 Read Full Article