Is it too hot in your house in the warmer months? A hot house is increasingly becoming an overheating office. Up to 30 percent of workers in the UK worked from home during the pandemic, compared to only 5% in 2019. However, working is difficult if you live in an area that becomes an oven in the summer. According to a recent government analysis on climate threats, health and productivity will suffer unless homes can be kept cool in the summer and heated in the winter.

According to some forecasts, air conditioning alone might cause a 0.5°C rise in global temperature by 2100. The Passivhaus Trust promotes Passivhaus-certified buildings, which are comfortable to live in while consuming extremely little energy for heating and cooling. Goldsmith Street in Norwich, a communal housing complex integrating Passivhaus principles, won the Stirling Prize for Architecture in 2019. According to John Palmer of the Passivhaus Trust, “our existing housing stock is in many cases poorly suited to deal with rising temperatures.” Mr. Palmer claims that the government intends to build 300,000 new homes every year and that they must be designed to withstand the heat without the need for energy-intensive air conditioning. Mr. Palmer claims that while good insulation will not keep a property cool in the summer, it will keep it warm in the winter. Some high-tech glass has a low g-value, which means that less heat from the sun goes through it.

While this is convenient in the summer, it makes dwellings cooler in the winter. Outside shutters or overhangs that provide shade in the summer but don’t block light in the winter when the sun is low in the sky, according to Mr. Palmer, are a better option.