Impacts of Heatwaves on UK Residential Housing in a Warming World

Wegener Center Common Space with Livia Capol

As our planet warms, the UK faces increasingly severe heatwaves, challenging the comfort and safety of residential environments. Existing studies often overlook the impacts of these extreme climate events, focusing instead on historical events and predictions of typical future weather conditions. This gap leaves critical questions unanswered, especially regarding the resilience of residential housing and the well-being of vulnerable populations like the elderly in the context of climate change. To address these challenges, our research studies the historical and anticipated future impacts of extreme heat scenarios on the UK's residential buildings. This analysis allowed us to identify factors that increase vulnerability to heatwaves within homes, such as building type, occupant age, duration of heatwave, and the Urban Heat Island effect, and evaluate the expected intensity of indoor conditions under these scenarios. With the aim of making our methodology accessible and practical we developed a novel Building Environment Model tool, the Heatalyzer. This tool allows users to evaluate and understand the impacts of extreme heat on indoor living spaces effectively for various geographic locations. In my presentation, I will share the insights from our case study on the UK's residential housing stock, highlighting how our findings and the Heatalyzer tool can help to enhance our understanding of indoor thermal comfort and protect the health of residents amidst changing climatic conditions.


Talk by Livia Capol, ETH Zurich/University of Cambridge


Moderation: Chloe Brimicombe