March 30, 2023

Climate Change Committee urges retrofitting to deal with building overheating

News Article

The Government is being urged to do more to address the growing risk of buildings overheating during the summer.

A warning, issued by the Climate Change Committee (CCC), to Parliament this month, highlights the current lack of policy to address overheating in existing homes and buildings and a lack of understanding of the scale of efforts needed to mitigate the risk.

Although the report’s authors ‘welcomed’ new regulations introduced last year, which require the construction of new buildings to be resilient to overheating it expressed concern that there is nothing to incentivise the retrofitting of existing buildings.

The CCC is now proposing that vulnerable existing buildings should be retrofitted with cooling and insulation materials. The report highlights that overheating can lead to health problems and negatively impact productivity.

The CCC’s report was damning of the Government’s progress in adapting to climate change, finding “very limited evidence” that the country is making necessary changes at the required scale.

Despite an increased recognition of the issue, the CCC stated that “significant policy gaps remain” and called for a “step change” from the Government in adapting to climate change.

The CCC also warned of the potential for inappropriate retrofit programmes that could worsen the risk of overheating and poor indoor air quality.

It has urged the Government to ensure that strategies “take a holistic approach” to improve performance throughout the whole year, taking into account adequate ventilation and shading, in addition to its current focus on energy efficiency.

The CCC has recommended expanding the ‘Part O’ Building Regulation requirement which covers overheating risks, to include refurbishments of existing buildings, conversions of non-domestic buildings to residential use, and prisons.

The Committee is also encouraging the Government to make additional funding available to deal with both overheating issues and flood resilience measures.

For help and advice on matters relating to the Building Regulations requirements, please get in touch with Adam Davis, Palmers Head of Construction Law.