Impact: UK National Climate Change Risk Assessment2 February 2012, posted by alistair.fair
Alan Short and Alistair Fair were consulted on behalf of the team regarding the UK National Climate Change Risk Assessment, recently published by the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. The work of the DeDeRHECC team was featured in the 'Built Environment' section of the report, including data gathered during the monitoring exercise at one of our Partner Trust hospitals.
The report can be viewed at: http://randd.defra.gov.uk/Document.aspx?Document=CCRAfortheBuiltEnvironmentSector.pdf. It records that:
Historically within the UK, building design has been driven by the need for indoor thermal comfort in winter and more recently, by a desire for winter energy efficiency. There is, however, evidence that some types of building, such as highly insulated lightweight buildings and buildings with heavily glazed facades, are already vulnerable to summer overheating. Hotter, drier summers will exacerbate this risk for all building types. Without planned adaptation to implement appropriate passive cooling measures, there is the further risk that the Urban Heat Island effect would be exacerbated by widespread autonomous maladaptation in the form of air-conditioning. [BE3]Section 4.4.1. offers particular discussion of hospitals, as does section 5.6.1, which notes that As with other buildings, the risk of overheating would increase under climate change in existing hospitals. For new-build, the current tendency is to build deep-plan, air- conditioned hospitals. Such designs were originally developed to provide an artificial environment when set in harsh climates such as the American mid-West. Also, the NHS is already responsible for a third of public sector carbon emissions in the UK. Increasing carbon emissions resulting from air conditioning does not sit well with current carbon reduction targets.