Briefing Notes

Briefing Notes

Introducing a new a new type of article aimed at practitioners

Welcome to Briefing Notes - a new type of article. Consistent with Buildings & Cities' objectives, Briefing Notes aim to make research topics more accessible and relevant to the end users of research: practitioners, clients, occupants and policymakers. Briefing Notes will provide readers with a concise summary, in plain English, of a what is known in a particular research field or topic and how to act on the results available.

Briefing notes will contain collated, research-based information about the built environment intended to support complex decisions made by the wide range of actors involved in its regulation, design, construction, operation, management, renewal and redevelopment. The scope of the notes will be multi-scale, multi-domain and life cycle oriented.

Practitioner Panel
An international Practitioner Panel will advise on strategic issues and the content of Briefing Notes:

  • Identifying and prioritising topics for commissioning Briefing Notes
  • Commenting on individual drafts and supporting the reviewing process, particularly on the relevance for practitioner implications and clarity of communication
  • Connecting and promoting Briefing Notes to “communities of practice” 

To ensure their robustness and value, Briefing Notes will be peer-reviewed just like other papers B&C publishes. However, due to their important role in knowledge transfer/exchange, Briefing Notes will have two broad types of reviewers:

  • researchers (to ensure that the results cited are robust) and
  • end-user practitioners (to ensure that the advice offered is sound and can be acted on).

List of Briefing Papers

Urban microclimate in temperate climates: a summary for practitioners

Rohinton Emmanuel

A summary is presented of current knowledge and key considerations in urban climate mitigation that have a bearing on planning practice in temperate climates. Urban climate is the intended or unintended local climate consequence of planning decisions at the street, neighbourhood and even city scales. Such local climate change adds to the changing global climate, where it both interacts with as well as exacerbates the human, energy, built environment and urban consequences of climate change. Although a relatively new field of study, knowledge about urban climate has sufficiently grown in recent decades to be of practical value to decision-making in the design and planning arenas. The climatic, wellbeing and carbon impacts of urban climate change are summarised along with best practices in mitigation and their relative merits. Key action points involve mapping heat vulnerability as well as enhancing heat resilience. It is hoped this briefing note will raise awareness of the wide range of issues involved in responding to the urban climate anomaly, whether in planning new districts or infilling existing ones.

KEYWORDS: cities, climate change, climate-sensitive design, heat stress, microclimate, thermal comfort, urban climate, urban form, urban heat island, urban planning

Summertime overheating in dwellings in temperate climates

Kevin J. Lomas

Summertime overheating in both new and existing dwellings is widespread and increasing, even in temperate climates. There is an urgent need to solve the problem. Flats (apartments) and small dwellings, especially those in cities, are particularly at risk. Elderly and vulnerable people are particularly affected. This briefing note presents current knowledge about this problem and what might be done about it. It is directed at planners, designers, policymakers as well as local authorities, housing associations and other organisations that manage stocks of dwellings.

  • The research community and others have revealed the extent, severity and causes of summertime overheating in dwellings.
  • Flats (apartments), even in temperate climates, are particularly at risk of overheating. But methods of construction and refurbishment and global warming are making the problem worse.
  • Overheating affects mortality and morbidity, with the elderly and vulnerable particularly affected.
  • Well-established passive heat-protection measures can, in most cases, prevent or remove the problem.
  • Examples of good design practice are being verified through monitoring and occupant experience surveys.
  • Professionals concerned with the design and refurbishment of dwellings must now focus on keeping them cool in summer as well as warm in winter.

KEYWORDS: apartments; design; dwellings; flats; housing; inhabitants; overheating; refurbishment; thermal comfort; vulnerability

Latest Peer-Reviewed Journal Content

Journal Content

Implications of urban expansion: land, planning and housing in Lagos
B Oyalowo

Technological fascination and reluctance: gendered practices in the smart home
L K Aagaard & L V Madsen

Attuning smart home scripts to household and energy care
D Chambers

Modern methods of construction: reflections on the current research agenda [editorial]
S D Green

Masculine roles and practices in homes with photovoltaic systems
M Mechlenborg & K Gram-Hanssen

Brokering Gender Empowerment in Energy Access in the Global South
A Schiffer, M Greene, R Khalid, C Foulds, C A Vidal, M Chatterjee, S Dhar-Bhattacharjee, N Edomah, O Sule, D Palit & A N Yesutanbul

Housing adaptability: new research, emerging practices and challenges [editorial]
S Pelsmakers & E Warwick

Living in an Active Home: household dynamics and unintended consequences
F Shirani, K O’Sullivan, K Henwood, R Hale & N Pidgeon

Institutionalisation of urban climate adaptation: three municipal experiences in Spain
M Olazabal & V Castán Broto

Energy housekeeping: intersections of gender, domestic labour and technologies
R Martin

Speculation beyond technology: building scenarios through storytelling
R M Dowsett, M S Green & C F Harty

Professional judgement: an institutional logic approach to contractor tender pricing
D Jefferies & L Schweber

Emerging technologies’ impacts on ‘man caves’ and their energy demand
Y Strengers, K Dahlgren & L Nicholls

The gender of smart charging
S Pink

Fire performance and regulatory considerations with modern methods of construction
B J Meacham

Who cares? How care practices uphold the decentralised energy order
K Lucas-Healey, H Ransan- Cooper, H Temby & A W Russell

Alternatives to air-conditioning: policies, design, technologies, behaviours [editorial]
B Ford, D Mumovic & R Rawal

Benchmarking energy performance: indicators and models for Dutch housing associations
H S van der Bent, H J Visscher, A Meijer & N Mouter

Emissions from a net-zero building in India: life cycle assessment
M Jain & R Rawal

Lack of adaptability in Brazilian social housing: impacts on residents
S B Villa, P B Vasconcellos, K C R de Bortoli & L B de Araujo

Participation in domestic energy retrofit programmes: key spatio- temporal drivers
E Mohareb, A Gillich & D Bristow

Embodied carbon of concrete in buildings, Part 2: are the messages accurate?
A Moncaster, T Malmqvist, T Forman, F Pomponi & J Anderson

An alternative approach to delivering safe, sustainable surgical theatre environments
C A Short, A W Woods, L Drumright, R Zia & N Mingotti

Adapting owner-occupied dwellings in the UK: lessons for the future
T Hipwood

Integrating low energy cooling & ventilation strategies in Indian residences
M J Cook, Y Shukla, R Rawal, C Angelopoulos, L Caruggi-De-Faria, D Loveday, E Spentzou, & J Patel

Balconies as adaptable spaces in apartment housing
T Peters & S Masoudinejad

See all

Join Our Community

Latest Commentaries

Clothing: The First Layer of Personal Comfort

Alongside personal comfort systems (PCS) devices, clothing is another key site for (re)design in a body-centred personal comfort paradigm. Janine Morley (Lancaster University) explains how clothing and PCS could transform how thermal comfort is achieved whilst delivering energy savings and, potentially, increased satisfaction.

Can Personal Carbon Allowances Help Cities Reach Their Climate Targets?

Many cities throughout the world have set carbon and / or energy targets including renewable energy production and emissions reduction goals. Despite the commitment to take action, cities do not directly control the majority of the uses of energy or consumption-related sources of carbon emissions within their boundaries. Could a focus on household energy use, personal travel and consumption of material goods help to achieve this transition at city level? Tina Fawcett (University of Oxford), Kerry Constabile (University of Oxford) and Yael Parag (Reichman University) consider whether and how cities could harness personal carbon allowances in a practical manner.