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UK-GBC – Health & wellbeing in homes

The UK Green Building Council, of which the BBSA is a member, have produced this very interesting report on healthy homes. The report highlights that a healthy home is likely to be a sustainable one by design.

Download the report here: UKGBC Healthy Homes

Key mentions of solar shading include:


p.19 Section 1: Designing Healthy Homes

“Sunlight can also improve the appearance and feel of a home. But this has to be carefully considered, as there are also times when sunlight will feel too intense or hot, and can be a cause of discomfort and glare. Sunlight is a source of heat, which is helpful in the winter when we are heating our homes, but can be a nuisance in the summer when we are not…”

p.20 Section 1: Designing Healthy Homes

“Shading in the form of blinds or curtains is recommended on any window or skylight that requires it, to avoid glare from sunlight; to provide privacy at night when the interior electric lighting is on; and to block daylight and sunlight when required to darken a space…”

p.21 Section 1: Designing Healthy Homes

“Windows are ‘machines’, in the sense that they combine multiple properties: they should be considered not just as transparent sections of wall, but as important multi-functional elements of the home. Good window design can enhance occupant wellbeing, both physically and psychologically. However, there are a number of common pitfalls which do quite the opposite. Too much glazing can negatively impact privacy, furniture layouts, amount of solar gain and heat loss.”

p.21 Section 1: Designing Healthy Homes

“From a purely daylighting perspective, windows are better wide and high in the wall. Window sizes should be carefully considered and be fit for purpose. Large glazed areas can lead to the requirement for solar control coatings and triple glazing which will reduce light transmission.”

p.29 Section 1

“Orientate homes to allow for a balance of sun and shade: ideally homes would be designed to receive low level sun in winter and block out high level sun in summer.”

“Consider the size and specification of windows in relation to orientation and thermal comfort. Large windows facing south or west will have high heat gains unless measures such as external shading or solar control glazing are used to reduce the impact. Conversely large windows on north facing elevations will contribute to additional heat loss. See page 21 for more on windows.”

“Carry out overheating analysis at an early stage in the design process, to determine how to best design out overheating. Include future weather scenarios to futureproof designs.”

Solar gain

p.21 Section 1: Designing Healthy Homes

“Too much glass can lead to internal overheating. Use of solar control coatings is a valuable way to offset this but will reduce light transmission and can impact the colour rendering of glass. Solar control coatings can also reduce the amount of passive solar gain in winter, which would normally contribute to reducing heating loads. Moveable external shading provides the best balance between winter and summer needs.”

Heat loss

p.21 Section 1: Designing Healthy Homes

“Large areas of glass will increase heat loss. This leads to an argument to only use glass where it is useful for daylight or views. Use of triple glazing to offset large glazed areas will reduce light transmission, increase cost and increase weight/thickness of opening elements.”

p.21 Section 1: Designing Healthy Homes

“Blinds/curtains/external shade: the ability to open windows while shading or privacy devices are used should be provided.”

p.27 Section 1: Designing Healthy Homes

“In recent years, we have seen a marked rise in the incidence of overheating, particularly in the new build sector. As the frequency and severity of heatwaves is predicted to increase due to climatic changes, addressing this issue is vitally important.”

p.28 Section 1: Designing Healthy Homes

“It is through careful orientation, high levels of insulation, appropriate shading, air tightness levels and system design that the heating consumption of the homes has been reduced.”

Principle causes of overheating

“Solar gains through glazing (no shading)”

p.30 Section 1: Designing Healthy Homes

“However, without careful design, there is a risk of overheating in highly insulated homes. The ZCH suggests that overheating could be an issue in up to 20 per cent of our current housing stock. This looks set to worsen if we do not address the issue, as the climate warms, and heatwaves become more frequent and more intense. In a 10 day heatwave in August 2003, over 2,000 excess deaths were thought to be attributable to overheating.”

p.32 Section 1: Designing Healthy Homes

“Cool rooms make for the best sleep – generally an optimal temperature of 18°C. Prevent summertime overheating by providing blinds or curtains and educating residents on their proper use.”

p.48 Section 3: Retrofit

“A retrofitted home can be cooler in the summer months, particularly if external wall insulation is installed and solar reflective glass is incorporated into new windows. Resilience to future climate change needs to be considered, and the opportunity to incorporate or enable easy future installation of shading devices…”

Download the report here: UKGBC Healthy Homes

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