In conjunction with ComRes, a WSP report unveils a growing overheating trend in London’s property market and recommends that new measures be adopted. The report, titled Overheating in homes, reveals that four out five Londoners claim to suffer from unbearably hot homes in the summer, with more than half of those affected also complaining of a related lack of sleep. Furthermore, researchers found that close to one third of those suffering overheating at night felt tired or unwell the next day.

One phenomenon addressed in the report is Urban Heat Island (UHI), an effect that causes urban areas to experience warmer temperatures than surrounding rural areas. Harder and darker surfaces in cities lead to greater absorption of heat, with less evapotranspiration, where heat energy is used to evaporate water from the surfaces of leaves or soil. City surfaces generate 15% in reflected energy, while heat from vehicles, and even cooling systems, contributes to higher temperatures in urban areas.

“Overheating needs direct action, and a robust, industry-wide accepted way of analyzing its effects needs to be applied to all new homes and the environments where they are built,” says Barny Evans, an associate at WSP and the report’s author. “This presents an opportunity to build better, more sustainable and ultimately more desirable homes that will be comfortable for residents now and in the future.”

The research report proposes a number of steps for address overheating, including:

  • A new, robust regulatory overheating analysis method for all new developments
  • Requirement for new housing developments to adhere to a ‘cooling hierarchy’ to assess the most relevant measure for combatting overheating
  • Requirement for new buildings to be designed to facilitate retrofitted cooling installations
  • Measures to be introduced on a development and city-wide basis for reducing the urban heat island effect, including more green infrastructure and ‘cool pavements’
  • Advancement towards an all-electric city that will reduce heat production from vehicles and buildings in urban areas, while reducing noise pollution and allowing natural ventilation.
Read our White Paper: Overheating in Homes