Professor Lomas has warned the UK faces a public health disaster if the issue of overheating in homes isn’t tackled. Professor Kevin Lomas, an internationally acclaimed expert in building simulation, says the next heat wave to hit the country could have grave consequences for the most vulnerable in our society, as the country now has a housing stock unable to keep cool in the warmer months.
And with predictions of more frequent and intense heatwaves, Professor Lomas says the number of deaths related to overheating could triple by 2040.
“Despite the major health risks associated with overheating, particularly for the old and the very young, the focus of the UK building regulations remains on keeping people warm in the winter and not cool in the summer,” explains Professor Lomas. “But there needs to be a philosophical shift in the regulations to also include building adaptation measures.’
“We need the Government to listen to what the experts in academia and industry are saying – that urgent action needs to be taken to ensure the people of the UK, and in particular the most vulnerable in our society, are not left at risk from overheating.”
Watch the report on the ITV news website
Read more about Ben’s PhD project – Ventilation and thermal comfort in UK homes: can we maintain indoor air quality and reduce the threat of future air-conditioning of UK homes?
“With more energy efficient homes and higher chance of heatwaves in the future a perfect storm has been created where during heatwaves, heat cannot escape from homes unless we stop heat from entering by shading windows and opening windows to let hot air out at the right times. Our research shows that people often do the wrong things during hot weather – like opening windows when it’s hotter outside or forgetting to close the curtains in sunny rooms. Our work in these test houses is about designing the best ways to keep homes cool using simple interventions like windows and blinds, but defining the times to use these things and at what temperatures for optimum comfort and safety during heatwaves.
This will allow us to make accurate recommendations to people on the perfect actions to reduce inside temperatures during heatwaves and design smart home systems to give these kinds of instructions.”
Ben Roberts, LoLo Doctoral Researcher, Loughborough University