If You Can’t Stand the Heat…

If You Can’t Stand the Heat…

Stay cool!! That may be easier said than done but its safe to say that we’re all aware that July 2022 was not only been one of the driest months on record but it also is now renowned as the first time temperatures in the UK hit over 40° Celsius. Warnings have now been given that we are looking likely to face more heatwaves this month and also in the years to come. Before you say it, yes, I know it gets hot in other countries and, no, I don’t know why it is such an issue either. But, we live in the UK and debating the weather is one of the things we do best.

On a more serious note, the insulation of housing has become a much more important factor in recent years with the onset of EPC’s (Energy Performance Certificates) and much more robust building regulations for everyone to follow. This is all great in terms of heat retention and energy saving in years to come, especially with bills soaring higher than the Ozone layer itself.

Source: https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/about-us/press-office/news/weather-and-climate/2022/july-heat-review

We know at PLG that many of our clients have mobility difficulties and keeping warm has always been vital. But we recognise that looking forward, keeping cool will also be hugely important too. Some of our clients have difficulties regulating their own temperatures which means that the temperature within a property is vitally important. Insulation works well to keep properties warm in winter and some interesting research found that heat loss in the UK is considerably higher than in some of the more northern countries in Europe where it has been a consideration much longer. So whereas an average UK house will lose 3°C over 5 hours after being heated to 20°, the average house in Norway will lose 0.9°C.

That sorts the colder months but how do we keep cool in summer? Primarily there needs to be a concentration on the more fundamental principals of environmental design, those which as skilled and experienced designers we can bring to the very outset of a project. These are simple things such as how can we work with the orientation of the site in order to prevent overheating, or how key spatial adjacencies are addressed internally to group services and function to take best advantage of a projects individual situation. However, that said It may well also be necessary to look at including additional features which ensure a property will not overheat. These may be as simple as getting the ventilation right or installing additions such as external shutters and awnings, but they may also include systems to provide additional cooling measures.

Air conditioning or similar mechanical cooling systems are notoriously expensive to run, so who wants to be worried about a summer cooling bill when the scary winter one feels like it is just around the corner?

At PLG we want to make sure that we are always looking out for the interests of our clients and how we can improve what our adaptations can offer. We’re currently undertaking a review of every single project we have in design, planning or construction to see if there is a different way of dealing with this topic. Every project, client and set of circumstances is different and it is vital that we don’t try to deal with this as a one size fits all solution and look at each case on its individual merits or otherwise. More than anything we want to make sure that they are future-proofed so if summers are going to get hotter going forward, we are taking that on board right now.

If you are thinking about undertaking a project or just want some advice on this, or any other construction related topic, please feel free to get in touch with our expert Architectural team on 0333 577 0809 or hello@plg.uk and see how we can help.

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