Keeping Cool this Summer

Over the last ten years, we’ve seen a notable increase in the average temperature during Britain’s summers. With temperature’s regularly exceeding 30°C throughout July, August and September – especially in the south of the country – customers are looking for ways to keep their homes cool without having to fork out on retrofitting their property for air condition.

Fortunately, there are products and building techniques which allow a property to be ‘passively’ cool. Meaning the interior of the property remains around approximately 25°C throughout the summer months, and additionally, those same properties boast passive heating to 20°C without additional heating sources. This is excellent news for homeowners who live in southern or in urban areas where temperatures rise above 30°C frequently throughout the summer.

How does passive cooling work?

Passive cooling is affected by many aspects of a building’s construction, and works by optimising the building for the specific conditions of its local climate – but for the point of this article and our industry – we’ll focus on what we can do to help make homes cooler during the hot months of the year.

Placement

The orientation of the windows built into the property should be taken into consideration when refitting or working on a new build property. South-facing windows are excellent for passive heating in the winter months but should be covered with cloth curtains or blinds during the summer months as to not allow any excess heat into the property. This is further enhanced with the use of PassivHaus accredited windows.

Ventilation and airtightness

The thermal performance of windows and doors ensure that external heat doesn’t flood a property whilst the added benefit of ventilation allows warm air from inside to escape, keeping temperatures down.

Airtightness typically is associated with draughts during the winter or whistling windows during storms, but for passive cooling, it means so much more. Airtightness ensures that warm air from the outside doesn’t intrude when a property is trying to keep cool.

Products

PassivHaus accredited windows offer revolutionary thermal performance. EnergyPlus90 by Liniar, the UK’s first PVCu window which passed PassivHaus specification offers a staggering U-value as low as 0.5 W/m²K. Liniar’s PassivHaus product boasts an A+40 Window Energy Rating, making it one of the most sought after products when looking for passive heating and cooling. Its 90mm frame looks and acts like a 70mm system, just with additional energy efficiency and thermal performance and an acoustic rating of 42 decibels.

The EP90 window system is accredited with both PAS24 and Secured by Design, making it not only thermally advanced and exceptionally sound but also safe and secure – something all property owners demand.

Building regulations

Not only are homeowners looking for ways to keep their homes cooler during the warm months of the year, but the government is also looking for ways to further its agenda on zero carbon properties. Thanks to the PassivHaus design, homes built to these specifications also meet the criteria of zero carbon.

There is an upward trend in the specification of PassivHaus-rated products to be used in social housing. This isn’t necessarily for the passive heating and cooling trends but simply because of their acoustic dampening ability. Liniar has already had its EnergyPlus90 product installed in student accommodation in a busy city centre and a retrofitted apartment building across from a railway station. It’s very likely as more stringent building regulations are put in place for zero carbon properties that we’ll see an uptick in the demand for these products.

While the industry has come to a standstill because of the coronavirus temporarily – this isn’t going to last forever. Now is the time to think about expanding product ranges to include these crucial products – before building regulations require them so that you’re ready when the time comes.

For more information about PassivHaus specification and benefits, visit https://www.passivhaustrust.org.uk/.

Learn more about the UK’s first PVCu PassivHaus window system EnergyPlus90 by Liniar by visiting https://www.liniar.co.uk/upvc-windows/passivhaus/.

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