Beat the heat with aircrete

Building with aircrete can help ensure homes are energy efficient but also keep us comfortable during extreme temperatures.

With the mercury hitting 40 degrees this summer, the issue of overheating is only going to become more prevalent. And it begs the question: how can we ensure we are building homes that will remain comfortable spaces in the face of very hot weather? 

The answer to that question should start with the building fabric. What materials and products are we using to construct houses that can also keep them cool when required? 

Our answer is aircrete. The thermal properties of H+H aircrete blocks help them to regulate a building's temperature. A high thermal mass enables them to absorb heat that builds up during the daytime and release it over cooler, night-time periods. This helps to avoid extreme temperature highs and lows, something lighter weight building frames tend to struggle with.

In the UK we are well on the way to creating a housing stock that is highly energy efficient and keeps us warm in the winter. But now we have to deal with the issue of overheating. Installing air conditioning units is not a viable solution: it is carbon intensive and cancels out the cost benefit to homeowners of efficiently designed houses.

Ultimately, this is a question of resilience. Building resilient homes means building homes that are less carbon costly and that will work now and in the future. If the future is going to see more weather extremes and rising temperatures, then the homes we build today need to be designed with that in mind. 

As a part of Project 80, Midland Heart’s sustainable social housing project where H+H aircrete was used to build the first phase of homes, researchers at Birmingham City University will investigate how efficiently the houses perform post-occupancy. 

Part of this will be a PhD study that investigates overheating. Project 80 was conducted with a fabric first approach and resulting research should shed light on how building fabric and sustainable technologies can help to minimise the problem of overheating.

The intended outcome of Project 80 is to generate a scalable model of efficient and resilient homes that will meet the Future Homes Standard and shape the future of the UK housing stock. 

Tackling overheating at the beginning of the construction process, with the building fabric, just makes sense and will be more cost effective…and that is where aircrete comes in.