Overheating in Scotland: contributing factors in occupied homes

C. Morgan, J. A. Foster, A. Poston, T. R. Sharpe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)
17 Downloads (Pure)


There is growing awareness of the overheating risks in new-build properties in the UK. However, this tends to be considered a problem principally for the southern regions in the UK, only becoming a serious issue in the north of England in the medium-term and in the long-term for Scotland. This notion tends to be largely predicated upon climate change predictions, differences in latitude and summer air temperatures. This paper describes the results from Building Performance Evaluation (BPE) studies over a two-year period from 26 occupied new-build homes across Scotland which demonstrated incidences of overheating. Results suggest that low-energy buildings are susceptible to overheating despite northerly latitudes, with 54% of houses studied overheating for more than six months annually, and 27% of homes overheating for less than 10% of the year. Evidence indicated that commonly used prediction tools do not appear to anticipate overheating adequately. This paper maps common overheating causes due to design and the role of occupants, identifying the risks due to the regulatory system, prediction and procurement processes, and design and construction. A common finding was that design and occupancy factors appear to have a greater impact on overheating more than location and climatic factors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-156
Number of pages14
JournalBuilding Research and Information
Issue number1-2
Early online date8 Nov 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2017


  • building evaluation
  • building performance
  • design
  • houses
  • low-energy buildings
  • occupant behaviour
  • overheating
  • Passive House
  • Scotland


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