Global property consultancy Knight Frank has published its new Heating & Cooling Study 2020, with HomeViews reviews providing insights into resident feedback on the issue.
With UK temperatures this week topping those in Barbados and Ibiza, people living in new-build developments may find themselves in overheated apartments. Many will find that they have few ways to control the rising temperatures.
Over the years, improved acoustic and thermal performance, as well as air tightness, in many new builds has led an increase in heat retention. Developers now face the challenge of how to sufficiently cool – rather than heat – their buildings.
“Hot and getting hotter”
The Knight Frank report – co-authored with MSMR Architects and Core Five cost consultants – found that comfort cooling is currently only financially viable in schemes with values of approx. £1,000 per sq ft and above. A large percentage of the new build stock being delivered in the outer boroughs of London, as well as the majority of Build to Rent schemes, are likely to therefore suffer from overheating in the summer months.
These issues surrounding overheating were verified by HomeViews data in the report. Over 25% of our reviews mention ventilation and cooling – some of the most frequently mentioned topics.
“Many reviewers comment that they hardly have to pay for heating during the winter as their flats are so warm,” explained Rory Cramer, CEO and co-founder of HomeViews. “However, of our Top 10 BTR developments rated for design, eight of the buildings had reviewers expressing varying levels of frustration around the building being overheated during the summer.”
“London is hot and getting hotter,” commented Tom Dailey, Partner at Knight Frank and co-author of the report. “Developers need to find more sustainable and cost effective ways to heat, and more importantly cool, their buildings.
“With the drive towards London becoming a zero carbon city by 2050, developers need to change their approach,” he added. “The good news is that the opportunities to provide affordable, flexible and sustainable solutions are evolving quickly.”
Considering the extraordinary thermal qualities of new build developments, heating rarely needs to be switched on. This has led to a review of underfloor systems as the principal means of heating new build apartments.
Knight Frank says it is now seeing a number of developers challenging this presumed benchmark of luxury. Instead, they are turning to more sustainable and efficient options, such as combined heating and cooling via fancoil units.
“The challenge is now limiting overheating with passive measures or affordable cooling solutions depending upon the price point,” commented Gerard Cook, Founding Partner of Core Five.
“The zero carbon agenda and move to renewable energy sources is resulting in a significant shift towards air source heat pumps, which can meet the heating and hot water demand, address planning requirements, and potentially provide cooling at lower apartment price points than previously viable.”
While the introduction of new heating and cooling strategies will help to achieve the emerging targets, residential specialists MSMR Architects stated that, “designing buildings which mitigate heat gain, and therefore minimise cooling demand, will become increasingly important going forward.”
Find the full Heating & Cooling Study 2020 here.