As climate change raises temperatures, many buildings in the UK and Europe are simply not prepared. But what does this mean for office life?
There are several ways investors and building managers can improve their sustainable climate controls.
“The drive to reduce energy use in all buildings has led to more serious consideration of passive design measures; optimisation of glazing design to control solar gains while allowing good levels of daylight, effective shading in the hottest parts of the year and thermal mass in combination with night-time cooling to help regulate internal temperatures,” explains Andrew Lerpiniere, director at Webb Yates Engineers.
“While these apply mainly to new-build projects, there are some simple measures that can be applied to refurbishment or improvement projects; exposing or adding thermal mass and enabling night-time cooling. Considering whether external shading, which has the greatest impact, may be possible,” he adds.
Passive solutions should complement air conditioning, according to Lerpiniere, who adds: “As air-conditioning systems become more energy efficient and the electricity grid becomes greener, particularly from solar energy generation during the warmer months, the carbon cost also comes down.
“As part of the switch to all-electric buildings, replacing gas boilers with heat pumps, there is an opportunity to add cooling to buildings at limited extra cost. All of these measures involve some time, effort and cost, but conditions this week should perhaps act as a call to all of us to start plotting our way to a comfortable, low-carbon future.”