Study finds architects going above and beyond building regs for overheating amid climate concern

Study finds architects going above and beyond building regs for overheating amid climate concern

Press Release
22 Aug 2023
  • Pilkington United Kingdom Limited, part of the NSG Group, polls architects 12 months on from the introduction of Part O regulations for combatting overheating in new homes.
  • Alongside climate and energy efficiency, Part O is one of the three key factors influencing greater measures to minimise overheating in residential building design.
  • 70% of architects specifying more solar control glazing in homes since Part O was introduced.
Front door of house
Nine in 10 architects are going above and beyond the minimum requirements for tackling overheating in new homes, as developers seek to protect residents against extreme heatwaves, according to a new study by glassmaker Pilkington UK.

The manufacturer polled 100 architects* 12 months on from the introduction of Part O building regulations, which laid out stricter measures for new homes to minimise their risk of overheating.

Encouragingly, only 9% admitted to just meeting the new regulations’ minimum requirements. The study suggested developer demand was among the factors motivating architects.

Almost a third (32%) of respondents said extreme heatwaves, prompting greater interest in overheating from developers for occupant wellbeing, would be the biggest factor to influence greater measures for combatting overheating in new homes over the next five years.

Meanwhile, two in five (40%) architects said Part O would be the top driver.

But the study found how seven in 10 (71%) architects agreed there is a missed opportunity in Part O limiting the strictest measures for combatting overheating only to London and central Manchester, with other areas at a similar risk of overheating.

Phil Brown, European regulatory marketing manager at Pilkington UK, said: “Architects going beyond minimum requirements for overheating is encouraging to see. But it questions whether the landmark Part O regulations went far enough, and if they are out of step with developers’ ambitions for new homes following last summer’s record-breaking heatwave events.”

Architects turn to solar control glass

Pilkington UK’s study found how the majority of architects (57%) had found compliance with Part O easy. Many were turning to products like Pilkington Suncool™ 70/35 glazing designed to limit solar gain in buildings, to meet the new requirements.

The majority (70%) of architects polled said they were specifying more solar control glazing for residential projects since Part O was introduced.

Nearly nine in 10 (86%) architects polled agreed that solutions for combating overheating, like solar control glazing, are becoming increasingly important to new UK homes as the country becomes more accustomed to experiencing extreme heatwaves due to climate change.

However, one in seven (14%) said they most commonly incorporate air conditioning systems to help limit overheating, despite Part O instructing architects to exhaust all passive measures for mitigating overheating before considering mechanical cooling.

Phil Brown continued: “Solar control glazing has historically only had a small role to play in UK residential building design due to the country’s more temperate climate. But changes in regulation, climate and energy efficiency ambitions are making it a more essential material of choice for windows and glazed elevations.

“It’s incumbent on manufacturers to continue to innovate to provide more choice for architects in solar control glazing, enabling them to meet their clients’ demand for homes that go above and beyond in protecting residents against overheating.”

Pilkington UK revealed its research findings to almost 200 residential building design professionals in an online seminar on Part O hosted by Phil Brown.

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