Report suggests insulation is contributing to overheating

Joe Ragdale
Joe Ragdale, technical manager for Wetherby Building Systems, has called the report misleading
Joe Ragdale
Joe Ragdale, technical manager for Wetherby Building Systems, has called the report misleading

A new report has suggested that insulation is contributing to the increasing issue of overheating in UK homes.

According to Overheating in homes: the big picture, published by Zero Carbon Hub (ZCH), as building methods and retrofitting techniques improve to prevent heat losses in winter, the risk of overheating in warmer months is increasing.

ZCH added that it has evidence overheating is happening, potentially in up to 20% of the housing stock in England, and expects that the issue will worsen in the future.

As well as several key reasons for overheating, the report suggests that the ability of insulation to slow the transmission of heat through the building fabric is inadvertently trapping heat internally during warmer months. It does prevent extreme heat entering through the fabric of building, but once heat is inside it can become confined and needs to be deliberately rejected or purged.

Rob Pannell
, managing director of Zero Carbon Hub, said: “The drive for energy efficient, airtight buildings, which is integral to the fuel poverty agenda and objectives to reduce cold-related deaths, means greater care must now be taken to consider and reduce the potential for overheating when homes are being built or refurbished.”

However, Wetherby Building Systems has warned of the misleading nature of some of these assertions, and claimed addressing the issue of overheating homes is important but that insulation cannot be considered a cause.

Joe Ragdale, technical manager for Wetherby, said: “The way insulation works is very simple; as well as keeping heat in, it also keeps heat out. Homes that have been fitted with external wall insulation are actually in a better position during hot spells, as the heat will not be able to transfer through the walls to heat the property, so these homes will in fact stay cooler.

“Insulating our thermally inefficient housing stock is vital to achieving the UK’s carbon emission targets and the entire industry has been calling for the Government to invest in a long-term strategy for improving domestic energy efficiency. However, reports such as this are only serving to give the Government reasons to keep stalling, resulting in millions of poorly insulated properties still not getting the improvements that are desperately needed.”

To read Overheating in homes: the big picture in full, click here.

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