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Government National Design Guide promotes passive cooling planning

Overheating is among a number of considerations raised in new government guidance aiming to ensure higher quality homes can be designed in line with local development priorities

Efforts to tackle overheating via passive design principles is among the focuses of new guidance for planning authorities to consider how buildings can be more sustainable, safer and better meet local priorities.

A National Design Guide has been published this week alongside the release of consultation proposals for the government’s Future Homes Standard.

The design guide is intended to support local authorities with guidance on designing better quality buildings in regard to sustainability, energy efficiency and addressing health and welfare considerations.

According to the government, recommendations in the guide are focused on ensuring developers can meet specific community needs and ensure a rapid expansion of new homes nationally.

Well-designed homes are defined in the guide as being properties that are efficient and cost effective to run.

The guidance added, “They help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by incorporating features that encourage sustainable lifestyles. They maximise natural ventilation, avoid overheating, minimise sound pollution and have good air quality.”

Setting out relative development priorities for specific areas based around ensuring high levels of comfort, safety, accessibility and sustainability are among recommendations in the guide.

These priorities should be focused around the strategic needs of a local authority, a particular end user group, the overall scale of proposed work, as well as the site and location of a project.

Other key recommendations in the guidance include prioritising passive design strategies in order to minimise the risk of overheating in a building that can compromise internal comfort.

This focus should also include reviews of the layout and aspect of internal spaces, management of solar gain and natural ventilation opportunities, the guide document added.

Concerns about the growing potential for overheating were recently raised in findings from parliament’s Environmental Audit Committee.

A report published by the watchdog last month warned of a predicted tripling of heat-related deaths in the UK over the next 30 years. The challenges posed as a result of increased global temperatures are therefore expected to require a drastic rethink of cooling provision, particularly in more dense urban areas that retain and trap heat.

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