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

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

Inclusive Living: ageing, adaptations and future-proofing homes
V McCall

Residential geothermal air-conditioning: inhabitants’ comfort, behaviour and energy use
L Thomas, A Woods, R Powles, P Kalali, & S Wilkinson

Energy retrofit and passive cooling: overheating and air quality in primary schools
D Grassie, Y Schwartz, P Symonds, I Korolija, A Mavrogianni & D Mumovic

Outdoor PM2.5 air filtration: optimising indoor air quality and energy
E Belias & D Licina

Architects’ ‘enforced togetherness’: new design affordances of the home
E Marco, M Tahsiri, D Sinnett & S Oliveira

Overheating assessment in Passivhaus dwellings: the influence of prediction tools
V L Goncalves, V Costanzo, K Fabbri & T Rakha

The use of apartment balconies: context, design & social norms
M Smektała & M Baborska-Narożny

Sharing a home under lockdown in London
F Blanc & K Scanlon

Projected climate data for building design: barriers to use
P Rastogi, A Laxo, L Cecil &D Overbey

Residents’ views on adaptable housing: a virtual reality-based study
J Tarpio & S Huuhka

Technological transitions in climate control: lessons from the House of Lords
Henrik Schoenefeldt

Internal thermal mass for passive cooling and ventilation: adaptive comfort limits, ideal quantities, embodied carbon
T de Toldi, S Craig & L Sushama

Understanding air-conditioned lives: qualitative insights from Doha
Russell Hitchings

Living with air-conditioning: experiences in Dubai, Chongqing & London
N Murtagh, S Badi, Y Shi, S Wei, W Yu

Air-conditioning in New Zealand: power and policy
H Byrd, S Matthewman & E Rasheed

Summertime overheating in UK homes: is there a safe haven?
P Drury, S Watson & K J Lomas

Survey study on energy use in UK homes during Covid-19
G M Huebner, N E Watson, K Direk, E McKenna, E Webborn, F Hollick, S Elam & T Oreszczyn

Ceiling-fan-integrated air-conditioning: thermal comfort evaluations
M Luo, H Zhang, Z Wang, E Arens, W Chen, F S Bauman & P Raftery

The future of IEQ in green building certifications
D Licina, P Wargocki, C Pyke & S Altomonte

Architectural form: flexibility, subdivision and diversity in Manhattan loft buildings
C S Kayatekin

The significance of urban systems on sustainability and public health [editorial]
J Taylor & P Howden-Chapman

Empowered by planning law: unintended outcomes in the Helsinki region
A Joutsiniemi, M Vaattovaara & J Airaksinen

Climate change projections for sustainable and healthy cities
C Goodess, S Berk, S B Ratna, O Brousse, M Davies, C Heaviside, G Moore & H Pineo

Retrofit at scale: accelerating capabilities for domestic building stocks [editorial]
F Wade & H J Visscher

See all

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