4.6 million homes in England experiencing overheating during summer – research

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More than 4.6 million homes in England are experiencing overheating during the summer, research suggests.

Analysis by academics at Loughborough University has found overheating to be more prevalent in bedrooms at night than in living rooms during the day.

The research, published in the journal Building and Environment, is based on an assessment of 750 English homes where houses were monitored and residents filled in questionnaires.

The findings indicated that in England, 4.6 million bedrooms and 3.6 million living rooms were overheated.

Professor Kevin Lomas, from Loughborough’s School of Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering, who is lead researcher on the study, said that the threats posed by climate change are of global concern.

He said: “Heatwaves will increase in frequency, intensity, and duration, and so will the health risks associated with them.

“With the majority of fatal heat exposures in developed nations occurring indoors, the findings of our study show just how many homes in England are at risk of overheating.”

The research, conducted in partnership with Building Research Establishment (BRE), also found that living room overheating was significantly greater in flats (30%) than other dwelling types and was more prevalent in households living in social housing, with low incomes or with members aged over state pension age.

Professor Lomas said: “With the most vulnerable members of our society – the elderly, the very young, those living in deprived areas, and those with chronic physical and/or mental health conditions – being most at risk, action needs to be taken now to mitigate the dangers increased temperatures will bring.”

The team said that taking steps such as better control over the methods of construction and refurbishment of flats, targeted public health messaging around overheating, and a call to building professionals to design and refurbish dwellings which are cool in summer as well as warm in winter, could mitigate the risks associated with increased summertime temperatures indoors.

Helen Garrett, principal consultant at the BRE said: “With British summers getting hotter, we’re all feeling the heat a lot more.

“This research identifies where some of the biggest challenges are – in flats, in our bedrooms at night, and for older and poorer households.

“The construction industry can use this to think about how to build future homes, and retrofit existing homes, which will be more comfortable in heatwaves like the one we’re enduring now.”