After the UK experienced temperatures above 40°C in the recent heatwave, there's a growing need for house builders to future-proof houses so they can stay cool in hot weather.
With the use of white surfaces, houses can be modified to reflect heat, and shutters or motorized blinds may be installed as standard. Trees can also be planted strategically to help provide shade in the future. The use of insulation can also assist to control the temperature in the same manner that it helps to retain heat during the winter.
Alongside that, glassy skyscrapers could be better equipped to endure the heat by utilizing louvre windows, which are horizontal glass slides that can be tilted open and shut as needed. This is much needed, as glass buildings can, in certain cases, become huge greenhouses that trap heat and can become unbearably uncomfortable for those who work or live in them.
James Knight of Arcadis, a design and engineering consultancy, had this to say to The Guardian: “The housing industry is quite traditional and old-fashioned in adapting and there are a lot of challenges that we need to deal with around zero-carbon and future-proofing." Alongside stating that “People [In the Mediterranean] leave their homes shuttered all day, with the windows open behind. How many of us leave the curtains closed on south and west-facing windows when we go to work on a sunny day?”
Heatwaves in the UK summers could become a normal occurrence due to the continuous impact of global warming, and a dependence on air conditioners to keep houses cool may drastically increase the country's carbon footprint.
More than 1.5 million residences intended to be constructed in the next five years are not resistant to high temperatures, according to a report submitted by the Climate Change Committee last year. “We’ve been telling the government for over 10 years that we are nothing like well enough prepared in the UK for the really hot weather we are seeing now,” said Climate Change Committee Deputy Chair Lady Brown.
If you wish to keep your house cool, close the windows and curtains to avoid direct sunlight, and open up your doors and windows in the evening.
Bob Ward at the London School of Economics, is hopeful that people won't underestimate the issue of heatwaves after this summer. He had this to say on the matter: “More action is needed to inform the public about the dangers created by heatwave conditions." Alongside stating that: “One part of the solution could be to name heatwaves in the same way that winter storms are now given names to gain the attention of the public.”