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Summer overheating risk in new and retrofit properties now a reality!

Building designers and energy professionals have, for some time now, warned of the risks of overheating in some homes retrofitted with energy efficiency measures and new homes built to more stringent Building Regulations.

Social landlords, many of whom developed their own standard building requirements beyond the current Building regulations, are now reportedly finding significant and very serious issues. Paul Ciniglio from First Wessex commented “We must really take this issue very seriously”. Of one development he has experience of, he stated that a resident posted a photograph on Facebook of a temperature sensor reading 50.5 degree centigrade. the device, installed to monitor the overheating issue, had been situated out of the sun in a communal area. In another development, the owner could only sell the top floor flats to unsuspecting buyers in the winter time when the internal temperatures seemed acceptable.

First Wessex have had to fit air conditioning to some properties to alleviate their overheating issues and Mr Cinigli was convinced that large numbers of properties owned by many other social landlords, built or retrofitted recently, will be suffering similar problems.

JB comments – Currently we are working on projects using very high density natural wood fibre insulations such as those from Back to Earth South West Ltd to prevent overheating in the summer, whilst keeping the building exceptionally warm in the winter. These are well tried and tested products, simple to construct and cost effective and used widely in Europe. However, the UK building industry is slow to wake up to these opportunities to date, preferring standard building methods with additional insulation and better air tightness. There in lies the danger!  Impending Zero Carbon Homes in 2016 certainly may force many to wake up to such alternatives and move with the times.

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