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NHBC raises concern about overheating in new homes

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A report produced for the NHBC by the Zero Carbon Hub as found evidence that new properties are increasingly at risk of overheating

Overheating in new homes found small dwellings and flats to be most at risk, and this was increased by the spread of single-sided properties where cross ventilation was not possible.

There was also evidence that prototype energy efficient and zero carbon homes were also suffering from overheating issues.

Concern has been raised about the health implications of this overheating. The report stated: ‘The medical evidence shows that although the health effects of exposure to excessive heat can be mild, if left untreated symptoms have the potential to develop quickly into severe, often fatal heat illness.’

The report also calls for greater guidance and modelling tools, as current methods seem unable to correctly predict overheating.

Neil Smith, group research and innovation manager at NHBC, said: ‘This report raises some key points about the causes and, most importantly, impact of overheating. It is clear that the health risks alone indicate there is an urgent need across the industry to develop a universally accepted definition of overheating in dwellings, as well as thresholds for intervention.

‘We hope that the reports published by NHBC Foundation on the subject of overheating will stimulate thought and provoke further debate and research on the topic, so that overheating can be mitigated or even designed out of new homes in the future.’

Keith Riddle, managing director at Velux commented on the report, saying: ‘New homes that resemble hermetically sealed boxes could become the norm as developers strive to meet increasingly strict energy efficiency standards. The NHBC’s research will, we hope, mean that many developers will now pause for breath and consider adequate ventilation as a viable means to building affordable zero carbon homes that are also healthy places to leave.’

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