Oxford University and ONS reports on the impact of rising temperatures on mortality underline the importance of building and refurbishing homes to protect occupants from the impact of extreme heat, says insulation specialist Actis.
The reports both point to the devastating impact rising global temperatures have on human life.
The Oxford University research states that the UK is ‘dangerously unprepared’ for the impact of rising temperatures and calls for sustainable adaptations to the built environment to keep people cool.
It says using ‘energy guzzling’ methods like air conditioning will only increase carbon emissions thus creating a vicious circle – and that sustainable alternatives must be used.
New figures from the Office for National Statistics show there have been 50,000 heat-related deaths and more than 200,000 related to cold in England and Wales since 1988.
Of these, more than 4,507 deaths were estimated to be linked to heat in England last year, when temperatures topped 40C. And about 3,000 more over-65s died than usual in England and Wales last summer.
And with last month being the world’s hottest September on record, according to the Copernicus Climate Change Service, it is vital to adapt our building strategies to prevent unnecessary deaths, as well as discomfort, says Actis UK and Ireland sales director Mark Cooper.
He agrees with Oxford University report co-lead author Dr Jesus Lizana who says: “If we adapt the built environment in which we live, we won’t need to increase air conditioning. But right now, in countries such as the UK, our buildings act like greenhouses – no external protection from the sun in buildings, windows locked, no natural ventilation. Our buildings are exclusively prepared for the cold seasons.”
Mark also shares the concerns of fellow report author Dr Radhika Khosla, Associate Professor at the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, who says: “By 2050, the energy demand for cooling could be equal to all the electricity generated in 2016 by the US, EU and Japan combined. We have to focus now on ways to keep people cool in a sustainable way.’
The Actis Hybrid range of insulation and membranes and its new two-in-one Eolis HC have an important role to play in helping buildings stay cool.
“Part O of the building regulations obliges architects to limit unwanted solar gains and provide a way to remove heat from residential dwellings,” said Mark.
“While some insulation products can make homes unbearably hot in the summer, reflective alternatives also act as coolants – helping protect the health and comfort of the occupants.
“Using Actis products can make a dramatic impact on the comfort of homes in hot weather, with our new Eolis HC, a reflective insulation with an integrated vapour barrier, reflecting 95% of infrared radiation, courtesy of the revolutionary Triplex technology from which it is created.”
For more on Actis Insulation visit ACTIS Insulation – Tomorrow’s insulation today (insulation-actis.com).