The role of a home is to protect its inhabitants from the weather. As the climate continues to see changes, however, this is becoming increasingly more difficult. Places are seeing higher temperatures, frequent heat waves, storms and increased rainfall. Those that live near the coast are also seeing the risks arising from rising sea levels. The home not being modified for inclement weather can be a health and financial risk.
According to the UK Met Office, “Average global temperatures have risen by more than 1°C since the 1850s. All of the UK's ten warmest years on record have occurred since 2002.” In the future, they predict that the UK will see warmer and wetter winters, hotter and drier summers, as well as more frequent and intense weather extremes.
In 50 years' time, by 2070, they also anticipate the UK winter will be between 1 and 4.5°C warmer and up to 30% wetter. Summer is also expected to be between 1 and 6°C warmer and up to 60% drier. The effect of climate change doesn’t just affect temperatures. The ice in the Arctic is already 65% thinner than it was in 1975. It is realistic to expect we could see ice-free summers in the Arctic by the middle of this century.
Across the world 39% of people live within 100 kilometres from a shoreline and are at risk of flooding. Even if we cut emissions, sea levels will continue to rise until the year 2100. There’s also the risk of floods, storms, and extreme heat causing damage to buildings, disrupting transport and having adverse effects on health.
The Climate Change Committee (CCC) declared Britain’s homes unfit for the future. With this in mind, houses need to adapt in order to keep up with the changing climate.
In the light of threat from floods and storms, it’s vital that houses increase their flood resilience. Relocating electrical appliances from the ground floor reduce the risk, along with treated wooden floors and anti-flood airbrick covers.
In places where extreme heat could be an issue, it’s good to develop some new green space around the buildings. Green space can reduce overheating, as well as the impact of flooding.
Whilst the above can be expensive, the easiest change all residents can implement is increasing energy efficiency around the home. Water efficiency can be helped by low-flow showers, which can save up to 60% on water use, as well as hot water thermostats. For preserving heat, double or triple glazing can be installed, along with cavity and solid wall insulation. That change alone can save up to 45% of your home’s heat.
Heat pumps are also more common nowadays. The pumps capture heat from outside to heat the home.
People can install heating controls, such as timers and thermostats. An easy tip is to pull blinds down when out on hot days, to prevent rooms overheating. Efficiency can also be improved by getting your boiler serviced annually.
If you follow at least some of these steps, you can secure your future safety, as well as save money in the long run.