Understanding overheating - where to start: An introduction

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

‘Understanding overheating – where to start: An introduction for house builders and designers (NF44)’

This guidance document, published July 2012 by Zero Carbon Hub and NHBC Foundation, introduces the reader to the topic of overheating in homes, a topic to which increasing attention is being given.

Historically, overheating of homes has not been identified as much of a problem, possibly due to the heavyweight building materials used in their construction and the low levels of thermal insulation. This coupled with gaps in building fabric and features such as chimneys and sash windows, means these homes have the benefit of adventitious air infiltration to help keep them cool during the summer.

Higher levels of thermal insulation and reduced air infiltration in newer homes could mean that in some situations, overheating of homes could occur.

Introducing this complex subject, the guide explores external and internal gains, the heat island effect and ventilation strategies. Specific attention is given to occupant behaviour and a number of case studies illustrating incidences of overheating are also presented. The guide is available from www.nhbcfoundation.org.

Further research on the topic of overheating has been commissioned by NHBC Foundation, including more on how overheating is defined. This is being undertaken by BRE and is expected to be published later in the year.