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Cooling the UK housing stock post-2050s

Gupta, Rajat; Gregg, Matt; Williams, Katie


Rajat Gupta

Matt Gregg

Katie Williams
Professor and Research Centre Director


© The Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers 2015 Reprints and permissions: This paper investigates the risk of projected post-2050s overheating in existing, retrofitted and new-build dwellings in the United Kingdom. As shown in the previous research, passive measures may not be sufficient in mitigating overheating risk. Therefore, mechanical cooling technologies that may be deployed to 'adapt' to a warming climate are tested for energy and CO2 implications. For retrofits, heating demand is projected to remain dominant, whereas in post-2016 new-build, greater cooling system efficiency will be important. Thermal mass is shown to reduce future cooling load. The heat recovery element of mechanical ventilation with heat recovery may be rendered unnecessary in super-efficient homes. Ceiling fans coupled with natural ventilation may be sufficient in providing thermal comfort in the north of England. Ultimately, not planning for future overheating and cooling systems could create a new performance gap in design, construction and occupant behaviour.Practical application: Overheating, already experienced in dwellings throughout the United Kingdom and projected to increase in occurrence, should be considered in all new design and retrofit. Dwellings designed to meet thermal comfort performance targets may be at risk of non-compliance as a result of a warming climate. Furthermore, dwellings designed to meet energy performance targets may be at risk of non-compliance as a result of potential need for cooling systems. The findings have implications for policy-making in relation to decarbonisation of the electricity grid, implementation of the Green Deal and upgrading building regulations to future-proof new and existing housing against a warming climate.


Gupta, R., Gregg, M., & Williams, K. (2015). Cooling the UK housing stock post-2050s. Building Services Engineering Research and Technology, 36(2), 196-220.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 13, 2015
Online Publication Date Jan 13, 2015
Publication Date Mar 1, 2015
Journal Building Services Engineering Research and Technology
Print ISSN 0143-6244
Electronic ISSN 1477-0849
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 36
Issue 2
Pages 196-220
Keywords overheating, cooling energy, climate change, domestic, green deal, zero carbon
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Additional Information : Published online 13 January 2015