Temperatures of over 40°C in the UK have become ten times more likely as a result of global warming.

With the intense and record breaking temperatures hopefully behind us for the rest of the year, it’s a good time to reflect on the problems it caused and the impact they had on our working lives. We need to consider how to plan better for the future of our buildings, including how to adapt to this likely recurring or even worsening heat pattern going forward.

The UK Met Office indicates that days over 40°C have become ten times more likely as a result of global warming and our inability to curb it at the rate we need to. The 10 warmest days have also occurred this century suggesting a pattern of dryer summers and milder winters which we need to be able to adapt to in order to stay comfortable and productive in our current buildings.

Both the Met Office and WWA studies found that human-caused climate change has made the chance of 40°C in the UK about ten times more likely when compared with the pre-industrial climate. The research carried out ahead of this summer’s heatwave and the study conducted shortly afterwards underscores the importance of needing to adapt to such extreme temperatures.

Met Office 29th July 2022 – Met Office Blog Climate Study

Rising temperatures aren’t just inconvenient for us all in our day to day lives without the appropriate supporting infrastructure, they are also deadly. 17% more people than expected died in this recent heatwave, meaning we are also underestimating the seriousness of the damage this level of temperature can cause, especially in more urbanised areas where heat is much harder to disperse.

Yes buildings need to be built in the right way to be resilient enough to keep out radiation and not take in the heat, UK wide retrofitting is also essential to adapt all buildings to this new threat. However even with all that structural and development work it’s undeniable that some commercial buildings, who historically haven’t invested in air conditioning or put any consideration into their ventilation won’t be sustainable for the future.

During the heatwave our ROC support team were proactive in adapting to a sudden surge in temperatures, and considered how we could better support our customers by implementing the following:

We would list all stores above 24 degrees, check them for settings changes that might be needed, check for any plant issues, make recommendations and if needed arrange engineer visits to fix any faults. This helps customers to focus maintenance on the stores that need it most, or apply hvac extensions or setpoint reductions in a more strategic way rather than applying to an entire estate.

Andrew Benali – Support & Energy Services Manager

Better ventilation is undoubtedly required to maintain our comfort and health going forward, but contrasted with a need to use less electricity due to costs and climate targets – this balance is going to be vital, and the better visibility you have the greater level of control you maintain over your building, it’s comfort level and most importantly the health of those who reside within it.

Contact us today to find out how we can help manage the temperature in your building.