UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering


Urban social housing resilience to excess summer heat

17 February 2015

Social Housing

IEDE staff contribute to special issue of BRI journal

Dr Anna Mavrogianni, Prof Mike Davies and Dr Jonathon Taylor of UCL IEDE have contributed to the recently published Special Issue of Building Research & Information (BRI) "Counting the Costs of Comfort", based on the NCEUB 2014 Windsor Conference. The Guest Editors were Prof Sue Roaf, Dr Luisa Brotas and Prof Fergus Nicol. The Special Issue explores what it means for buildings to be designed or adapted for a future climate at an affordable economic and environmental cost. The emerging research presents several viable approaches and solutions to the provision of thermal comfort.

Current social housing should be adapted to cope with future heatwaves

The paper by Mavrogianni et al. assesses the current and future summer thermal performance of social housing in Central London with a focus on the exposure of vulnerable, elderly individuals who are likely to be susceptible to hot weather. Potential interaction effects with indoor air quality were also examined. The study indicated that residents are vulnerable due to summer overheating in some of the council-owned flats and natural ventilation alone is likely to be insufficient to keep indoor thermal conditions within acceptable limits in the future. It is recommended that early seasonal health prevention strategies focus on targeting heat vulnerability hotspot areas using existing heatwave vulnerability mapping tools and prioritize retrofit work in flats designated as unsuitable for vulnerable residents.