Keeping cool this summer
Over the last ten years, we’ve seen a notable increase in the average temperature during Britain’s summers.
With the thermometer regularly exceeding 30°C throughout July, August and September – especially in the south of the country – customers are looking for ways to keep their homes cool without having to fork out on retrofitting their property for air conditioning.
Fortunately, there are products and building techniques that allow a property to be passively cool, which means the interior of the property remains around 25°C throughout the summer months. Those same properties boast passive heating to 20°C without additional heating sources.
This is excellent news for homeowners who live in southern or in urban areas where temperatures rise above 30°C frequently throughout the summer.
Passive cooling is affected by many aspects of a building’s construction, and works by optimising the building for the specific conditions of its local climate. In this article we’ll focus on what we can do to help make homes cooler during the hot months of the year.
The orientation of the windows built into the property should be taken into consideration when refitting or working on a new-build property. South-facing windows are excellent for passive heating in the winter months but should be covered with cloth curtains or blinds during the summer months to prevent excess heat entering the property. This is further enhanced with the use of Passivhaus accredited windows.
The thermal performance of windows and doors ensure that external heat doesn’t flood a property, while the added benefit of ventilation allows warm air from inside to escape, keeping the temperature down.
Airtightness is typically associated with draughts during the winter or whistling windows during storms. Airtightness also ensures that warm air from the outside doesn’t intrude when a property is trying to keep cool.
Passivhaus-accredited windows offer revolutionary thermal performance. EnergyPlus90 by Liniar, which passed Passivhaus specification, offers a U-value as low as 0.5W/m²K, and therefore boasts an A+40 Window Energy Rating. Its 90mm frame looks and acts like a 70mm system, just with additional energy efficiency and thermal performance and an acoustic rating of 42 decibels.
The EP90 window system is accredited with both PAS24 and Secured by Design, making it not only thermally advanced and exceptionally sound but also safe and secure.
Not only are homeowners looking for ways to keep their homes cooler during the warm months of the year, but the government is also looking for ways to further its agenda on zero carbon properties. Thanks to the Passivhaus design, homes built to these specifications also meet the criteria of zero carbon.
There is an upward trend in the specification of Passivhaus-rated products to be used in social housing. This isn’t necessarily for the passive heating and cooling trends but simply because of their acoustic dampening ability. Liniar has already had its EnergyPlus90 product installed in student accommodation in a busy city centre, and a retrofitted apartment building across from a railway station. It’s very likely as more stringent Building Regulations are put in place for zero carbon properties that we’ll see an uptick in the demand for these products.
While the industry has temporarily come to a standstill, now is the time to think about expanding ranges to include these products, so that you’re ready when Building Regulations require them.