UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering


BBC News interviews Helen Pineo on cities adapting to climate change

7 November 2018

UCL IEDE's Helen Pineo was interviewed live on BBC News about the changes needed in planning and building design for climate change adaptation.

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A recent report by the Met office has revealed higher temperatures, longer warm spells and wetter rainy days in the last decade, compared with previous decades. This prompts questions about how our built environment should adapt to enable us to live more comfortably in a changing climate.

Helen Pineo, Lecturer in Healthy and Sustainable Built Environments, spoke to BBC news about the health impacts of overheating.


Helen explained how design measures can be applied at different scales to mitigate against overheating. For example, at the building scale, in homes, schools or offices, measures such as natural or mechanical ventilation and cooling can be applied. Mechanical systems can use renewable energy rather than fossil fuels to avoid further contributions to greenhouse gas emissions. At the urban scale, green infrastructure in the form of trees, parks, green roofs and other spaces can be used to provide shade and reduce urban temperatures.

Helen highlighted two key findings from the Environmental Audit Committee’s report, 'Heatwaves: adapting to climate change'.  The report recommends:

  1. Acknowledging the health impacts of overheating by introducing new building regulations to avoid overheating in buildings and requiring a dynamic thermal-modelling test for new builds.
  2. Introducing an urban green infrastructure target into the National Planning Policy Framework to enable towns and cities to minimise the effects of future heatwaves.