Summertime overheating in the UK

Future-proofing buildings against climate change – enhancing well-being and saving lives

The Government estimates that the average number of heat-related deaths in the UK will more than triple – to 7,000 every year – by the 2050s.

Our research provided the first evidence of the national incidence and severity of summertime overheating in UK homes and hospitals, whilst quantifying the influence of building design and occupant behaviour.

These findings have initiated and supported action by the Government and raised awareness among the public, professional institutions, construction companies, architects, local authorities, and housing charities – protecting the health of everyone in the UK, especially the most vulnerable.

Our impact

Influencing Government policy

  • Our research underpinned the Committee on Climate Change’s (CCC) 2014 report
  • The CCC’s 2017 update report escalated the issue to a priority for government action
  • In 2018, the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee report called for a change to Building Regulations

Building guidelines, standards and regulations

  • We helped steer the Government’s project to confirm the benefits of changes to the Building Regulations
  • We worked with industry partners to quantify the reliability of models and CIBSE Technical Memorandum (TM59, 04/17) for predicting overheating risk in new homes
  • Loughborough academics and alumni contributed to shaping the proposed new Building Regulations for England and Wales

Spreading the word – public engagement activities

  • Four TV appearances
  • Three radio discussions
  • Several mainstream press articles

The research

Our research in this area began in 2008 and has directly impacted Government policy and construction industry practice.

Our large-scale field trials – CARB, DeDeRHECC and 4M – have created new primary data sets enabling the extent and severity of summertime overheating in UK homes and hospitals to be determined; the validation of dynamic thermal models; and the creation of new empirical models.

Meanwhile, our full-scale experiments using two sets of matched-pair homes with simulated occupancy have quantified the impacts of thermal mass, ventilation and shading – allowing us to explore ways to reduce overheating risk.

We have also undertaken England’s largest monitoring campaign and survey which provides the Government's primary source of information, identifying the homes most likely to overheat and the subsequent social impacts.

By championing the use of dynamic thermal modelling, we are now better able to evaluate overheating risk, ensure compliance, and devise mitigation measures to make buildings thermally more comfortable – and, crucially, safer – in extreme hot weather.

The research evidence, along with the human impacts, created a clear motivation for organisations to act decisively to curb summertime overheating.

Richard Lorch Editor-in-Chief - Buildings and Cities

Research funders

  • BEIS via the BRE

Development partners

Colleagues from the universities of Cambridge and UCL

Stakeholder organisations including CIBSE, Good Homes Alliance, The Edge, Buildings and Cities Journal, The BRE, Inkling Partnership LLP, and Hilson Moran

Meet the experts

Photograph of Kevin Lomas

Professor Kevin Lomas

Professor of Building Simulation

Photograph of David Allinson

Dr David Allinson

Senior Lecturer in Building Physics

Photograph of Arash Beizaee

Dr Arash Beizaee

Senior Lecturer in Building Energy