Care provision fit for a future climate

Rajat Gupta, Gordon Walker, Alan Lewis, Laura Barnfield, Matt Gregg and Louis Neven

How far are existing care homes and other care provision facilities fit for a future climate?

Hotter, drier summers with heatwaves of greater frequency and intensity have serious implications for the UK’s ageing population. This report reviews existing evidence and presents primary research in four case study care settings (two residential and two extra care) in England to assess the risks of summertime overheating, and investigate the preparedness of the care settings, both now and in the future.

The report shows that:

  • summertime overheating is both a current and future risk in care schemes, yet there is currently little awareness or preparedness at all levels, from designers to frontline staff, to implement suitable and long-term adaptation strategies;
  • there is a perception that older people ‘feel the cold’, but less recognition that heat can also present a significant health risk;
  • design for overheating is not commonplace; there is low prioritisation of overheating and future climate change (in briefing and design);
  • there is a mismatch between the overheating risks predicted by climate modelling and those measured by empirical monitoring, which underplays present-day risks from high temperatures;
  • there is a lack of effective heat management across the case studies due to a number of design and management issues, including lack of investment in appropriate strategies (such as external shading), conflicts between passive cooling strategies and occupant requirements; and
  • collaboration among government departments and professional institutions is necessary to harmonise and standardise health-related and building thermal comfort-related overheating thresholds, with particular consideration for care settings.


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