District Heating Houses


Derwenthorpe resident Catherine Jardine asked Studio Partington -(who designed our houses) for advice about controlling summer heat. We start with some tips on how to use what you’ve got, and then there’s some advice about external shades that you can add. And if you want to learn more, there’s a guide from the NHBC, also written by Partington Studios.

Keeping your house cool

Good ventilation is … key. … Get cool air circulating through the house in the early morning and late evening and then close everything down once the external temperature [is above] the internal temperature (this is second nature in a Mediterranean climate, but not so in Yorkshire!).

The worst time is usually mid to late afternoon, when … heat is coming into the home directly from the sun and when the [air] temperature outside is also high, ….

Richard Partington, Studio Partington

So when it’s going to be a hot day (over, say, 19 degrees), keep your doors, windows, and blinds closed during the heat of the day to stop the house getting too hot: you can’t cool a house down with warm air, even if it is breezy. In the evening, when it’s cooled down again, open windows front and back to get the house cooled down again.

Check the windows and doors section of our house guide, to find out how to prop your windows open safely. Open them front and back, to allow cool air to flow through.

External shading

Some form of sunshading externally will certainly help prevent unwanted solar gains but there are some things to think about if a shading device is retrofitted. Firstly it is much easier to control south facing direct sunlight rather than east or west.

On a south side the sun is high and a structure projecting horizontally from above a window will shade the window by approximately the depth of the projection (sun being at 50 or so degrees height in June).

Low level east and west sun is much harder to control and is usually shaded with vertical fins or some kind of draw down external blind. Both of these are difficult (as is the traditional Mediterranean shutter) with the way we make windows in the UK, which are always outward opening to keep the rain out.

Richard Partington, Studio Partington

Note that close fitting internal blinds can also be effective, if you use them well.

This kind of shade isn’t useful with outward opening windows.

I attach some examples of what can be done as a retro-fit. The … wall will need to support the load of the shade so there will often be struts or cables and fixings at several points back to the brick work.

As with most things the best solutions come from traditional simple to operate means such as shutters, which would work over non-opening windows, but there are more sophisticated and automated systems. The most innovative manufacturer is Renson, who do commercial and domestic shading systems.

The little guide we did a few years ago for NHBC (also attached) explains the problems we are starting too see in well insulated homes and although more of an issue in urban areas people are beginning to be concerned about rural schemes as well.

Richard Partington, Studio Partington

Read more:

Global warming means we’re seeing longer, hotter summers. Air conditioning makes it worse: and is expensive to use, but shading and natural ventilation are free. So we hope this guide will be useful to you!

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