Session 5 Paper 1, University College London, 16-17 April 2015
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Current data shows that the UK is experiencing more extreme weather events, which are thought to be as a consequence of climate change. This affects the performance of our buildings. Recent low energy building design has emphasised the importance of high thermal mass and high levels of insulation in order to reduce heat loss in the winter and impede heat transmission into the spaces of the building during summer. To save energy many larger public and education buildings are now being designed without mechanical ventilation. Instead natural ventilation strategies are in place to maintain a comfortable and healthy environment and are designed and tested against warmer weather files, but not extreme weather conditions or temperatures, such as heat waves. For this reason there may be a safety and welfare risk to the building’s users if such events occurred.
The balance of energy use against the comfort within buildings becomes more important when user’s health and well-being is at risk, not just their comfort.