Last edited 15 Aug 2019

Overheating in buildings

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[edit] Introduction

The term 'overheating' refers to discomfort to occupants caused by the accumulation of warmth within a building. It is considered to be a growing problem in the UK due to climate change, the urban heat island effect, electronic equipment, increasing amounts of glazing and so on.

CIBSE define overheating as: 'conditions when the comfortable internal temperature threshold of 28°C is surpassed for over 1% of the time.' They also define 35°C as the internal temperature above which there is a significant danger of heat stress.

In 2006, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) stated that it believed a maximum temperature of 30ºC should be set, or 27ºC for those doing strenuous work. In July 2019, the Labour party proposed the same maximum workplace temperature of 30ºC, or 27ºC for those doing strenuous work. They tasked a proposed Royal Commission on Health and Safety at Work with bringing forward proposals.

For more information see: Heat stress.

Overheating can result in serious health issues, particularly amongst the elderly or young children. The summer heat wave of 2003 recorded an increase of 2,000 deaths in the UK due to heat exposure. It is predicted that by the 2080s this figure could have risen to as much as 5,000.

[edit] Design causes of overheating

Some of the reasons for overheating are thought to be modern building fabric standards that aim to keep buildings warm in colder climates. The House Builder's Association have been reported as saying that 'the ever exacting standards' of Building Regulations Part L cause overheating by stipulating airtightness levels that are too high.

Overheating may be caused by a single predominant factor or as a cumulative effect of different factors. These include:

[edit] How to deal with overheating

For more information, see Preventing overheating.

[edit] Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki

[edit] External references