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Dreaming of a new conservatory? Climate change building rules could shatter that middle-class aspiration

January 19, 2022

By Paul Homewood

h/t Philip Bratby

 

 

When will this interference in what should be individual choice end?

 

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As a middle-class staple coveted even by members of the Royal family, the conservatory has been an object of aspiration for the British homeowner for decades.

But now its days could be numbered under new rules designed to limit windows to keep homes cool as the climate warms.

From June, new properties will face strict limits on window sizing or have to pass complex modelling tests to show that they do not become too hot in the summer.

The long-awaited regulations respond to concerns that Britain’s housing stock is at risk of becoming "uninhabitable" if 40C summers become commonplace.

It follows calls by environmental groups, including official government advisers the Climate Change Committee, to build houses in a way that makes sure people do not overheat in the summer.

The new rules limit window size to a specific percentage relating to the floor area of a room and house, depending on the direction they face and how at risk the home is from overheating.

For homes that do not meet the rules, bespoke analysis must be carried out, modelling the home’s design including shades and ventilation and the likely weather conditions to ensure internal temperatures will not get too hot.

Conservatories can be exempted from the rules if they are unheated and separated from the house with exterior doors and walls – but must be accounted for if they have heating and run on from another room in the house.

Building groups said developers could be put off installing conservatories, especially smaller companies concerned about the added cost of the modelling, which could run to thousands of pounds.

Experts said the rules would also hit trendy floor-to-ceiling windows, particularly in flats where ventilation is more difficult, as well as sliding patio doors.

Rico Wojtulewicz, head of housing and planning policy at the National Federation of Builders, said: "We can build heavily glazed buildings but smaller companies who do a number of different housing types on one development may avoid it, due to the potential cost of the dynamic thermal modelling on each home."

He said conservatories could become a more "premium product" as high-end builders continue to put them in while more lower-priced and mid-market companies ditch them from developments.

Andrew Mitchell, director of energy services at construction consultancy Stroma, said: "Conservatories are a loophole in the regulations as long as you keep the divide. You can keep the conservatory if you have that divide from the home. If you’re going to heat it you’ve run straight into trouble."

He added home designs would become more standardised as builders tried to avoid having to do too much modelling of different layouts.

"We are going to get boring homes across the country because the regulations have got so hard," he said.

The regulations, published last month as part of a wider overhaul of building standards, are set to come into force in June. They affect new-build homes but not extensions.

It came as the Government said that overheating in homes was a "priority risk" as Britain’s summers become hotter due to climate change, especially if people continue to work from home after the pandemic.

"As well as risk to life, high temperatures will lead to productivity losses for UK workers," the Government’s official Climate Change Risk Assessment warned on Monday.

Last year’s guidance from the Climate Change Committee warned: "More than 300,000 homes are due to be built each year across the UK and there is a major risk of lock-in if they are not planned and built to address overheating alongside energy efficiency and low-carbon heating.

"Inaction now will create unnecessary retrofit costs later and could even leave many existing and new homes uninhabitable as temperatures rise."

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/environment/2022/01/18/heat-conservatories-climate-change-building-rules-put-threat/

 

It seems that the main objection to conservatories comes from the energy efficiency side, rather than keeping homes cool in summer. Hence the exemption if they are not heated and separate from the main house.

But this would rather negate the main advantages of a conservatory, including the expansion of living space which they bring in a house. Many people use them all year round, as it expands their lounge area, and allows views out onto the garden.

And, of course, there are many times during the year when it is mild enough to open the patio doors, but still cool enough to need heating during the evening. Conservatories can also be much cooler in summer than traditional rooms.

Unheated conservatories on the other hand are cold and damp, and are a waste of space for most of the year.

At the end of the day, it should be up to homeowners whether they have a conservatory or not, and whether they want to heat it.

The rest of the regulations, mandating small windows and so on, are based on a lie anyway. There is no evidence that summers will become so hot as to make homes uninhabitable.

The number of days >25C in Central England shows nothing alarming happening:

 

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https://www.ecad.eu/utils/showindices.php?uk26bjmnfs9d4bei8co2qc09r9

The official heatwave threshold for Central England is, I believe, 28C, and in the last decade there have been just 30 days above this temperature.

The idea that we should have to obey draconian building regulations, making houses more expensive to buy, with tiny windows (and thus poor ventilation and light) and with no conservatory, just because of a couple of hot days a year is beyond absurd.

Have the Committee on Climate Change never heard of air conditioning?

32 Comments
  1. buchanlad permalink
    January 19, 2022 10:36 am

    Dear Paul,

    The ghastly Deben is yr classic superannuated politician seeking the limelight ( plus the cash ! ) He is very much part of the quasi – religious belief system that is destroying our western economies How long before they are found out and removed ? Help !

    Geordie B Stuart

    >

  2. January 19, 2022 10:41 am

    When I read this article, I thought that it must be April 1st. But no, it’s just more bureaucratic lunacy.

    When I added a conservatory to my house, there were ways and means to get around the regulations regarding not connecting the existing central heating system to the conservatory, but having to putt in a separate heating system, which would have been far more expensive and less efficient.

  3. January 19, 2022 10:58 am

    Of course the CCC have heard of aircon but they don’t want us to have it because it’ll overload and already unreliable electrical infrastructure…

    Micromanaging interference in our lives. As my father (b. 1919) used to say, “little men drunk with power”…

  4. January 19, 2022 11:00 am

    Have the Committee on Climate Change never heard of air conditioning?

    But they don’t want anyone fitting it in a conservatory as it falls into their ‘major risk of lock-in’ category 🙄

  5. Paul Chamberlain permalink
    January 19, 2022 11:07 am

    Climate insanity of course, but perhaps one of the few good results to come out of the panic. For years people tried to persuade us to have a conservatory, we refused, too hot in summer, too cold in winter. There is now a thriving industry replacing the glass roofs with lightweight plastic insulated ones, see:
    https://www.supaliteroof.co.uk/

  6. January 19, 2022 11:14 am

    The idea of small windows making a house cooler is ludicrous, big windows that open to give a through draught are what are required, coupled with ceiling fans, they will keep most houses liveable as they did in the tropics before air conditioning.

  7. st3ve permalink
    January 19, 2022 11:55 am

    Return of Window Tax,? (circa. 1696-1851).

  8. The Informed Consumer permalink
    January 19, 2022 11:55 am

    Totalitarian ambitions of the perpetual curtain twitchers and control freaks.

    I have, for my whole life, hated ‘club culture’. Groups of small minded people joining together to excerpt control over others. I even hated Cubs as a child because it was about controlling and conditioning little people’s minds.

    Surprisingly enough, I joined the Police, but resigned after 11 years because of the oppressive influence they exerted on the lives of their employees. I had to have permission to get married and where I could buy a house!

    Governments are nothing more than an extension of this Cub Scout, Akela*, committee control over individual rights when they feel they can get away with it. The IPCC, Universities, WHO, UN and all the rest of these organisations are stuffed self appointed Akela’s with the club mentality necessary to participate.

    Useless people whose only ambition in life is to surround themselves with others to hide their own inadequacies.

    *”Akela is a symbol of wisdom, authority, and leadership. Akela is generally accepted to be the leader of the Pack and the title Akela is generally understood to be reserved for use by the adult who is the leader in charge of the Pack.”

  9. Gamecock permalink
    January 19, 2022 12:22 pm

    If the sun on your conservatory gets too strong, twenty bucks worth of Reflectix will fix it.

    Reflectix is a brand of reflective bubble foil. Pretty easy to cover windows with it.

    Or just close the door to the conservatory til it cools down.

  10. January 19, 2022 12:40 pm

    I must applaud governments for their supremely effective, but fraudulent business models, whereby they create catastrophes in order to do whatever they wish using manipulated data. The silencing of opposing views is the icing of their underhanded strategies. How much longer will the public tolerate the deceptions?

  11. Tom Morgan permalink
    January 19, 2022 12:42 pm

    I’m sure American restrictions won’t be far behind.

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  12. kjbirby permalink
    January 19, 2022 12:49 pm

    Our conservatory warms the rear of our home during winter, helping to keep our fuel bills down.

    In summer we throw open the doors and windows to keep it cool.

    Simple!

  13. Joe Public permalink
    January 19, 2022 1:17 pm

    The possible solution:

    Designate your proposed conservatory as the external skin to a Trombe wall.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trombe_wall

    Surely no one could logically object to such a ‘green’ environmentally friendly solar heating solution?

    • bobn permalink
      January 20, 2022 12:47 pm

      I Like it. Planning solved by not calling it a conservatory but just ‘external wall large cavity insulation’. I would try it but Ive already built my conservatory. My problem solved by just not asking for permission. No complaints and after 10yrs it is deemed legal. If we have learnt anything over the last 2 years its to ignore all Govt advice and regulations (just like the PM does!).
      As my father taught me
      ‘What they don’t know can’t hurt you’
      I operate a
      ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell policy’.

  14. January 19, 2022 1:29 pm

    “For homes that do not meet the rules, bespoke analysis must be carried out, modelling the home’s design including shades and ventilation and the likely weather conditions to ensure internal temperatures will not get too hot.”. Er, haven’t the ecomentalists just been going nuts because we haven’t insulated our houses enough – to keep them WARM enough!! It’s not even as if they know what the weather is going to be like 5 days out, let alone 50 years. We need a popular revolution to give these numbskulls such as Deben short thrift, and a P45. We must tell all these petty dictators where to go, and that they don’t know what best for us. Hopefully Boris will soon be ousted by the growing wave of disgruntled Conservative MPs, and Mrs Johnson’s green idiocy with him.

  15. Chaswarnertoo permalink
    January 19, 2022 1:49 pm

    Solar gain is free heating on our cold, damp island. These people are morons.

  16. January 19, 2022 1:58 pm

    Why is heating in conservatories an issue if the alleged problem is that they will make the house too hot. Even Nadine Dorries probably realises she wouldn’t need to heat a conservatory in a heatwave.

  17. marlene permalink
    January 19, 2022 2:09 pm

    To all you megalomaniacs who want to control the world: Bollocks! You’re all mad as a bag of ferrets.

  18. John West permalink
    January 19, 2022 2:42 pm

    Madness !! As I write in mid Jan, today we have lots of sun, even here in Kendal, and the conservatory is currently 28 DegC, with the double doors open open to the lounge the radiators are off and have been all day. It is keeping the whole downstairs at 20 DegC and upstairs benefits from the rising heat. Yes it gets hot in the summer, but we just open the doors and windows !

  19. Rowland P permalink
    January 19, 2022 5:49 pm

    What are windows for? Primarily to let natural light in. If too small, then you have to turn the lights on! In any case, won’t they be double or triple glazed to keep the warmth in. Oh, I forgot, our new houses will get too hot during the roasting summers that we are being promised if our windows are too big letting the sun shine in.

  20. David permalink
    January 19, 2022 6:12 pm

    These bureaucrats just take any variation type of our lovely British weather to prove any particular point they happen to be making. Thus it all ends up as nonsense. They get away with it all the time. The government should take away their powers and require their nutty ideas to be discussed and voted on in parliament.

  21. January 19, 2022 7:26 pm

    I live in the Washington DC area which is probably substantially warmer than anywhere in the UK. We have a very large room that has windows on 3 sides and faces south. We also have mature trees close to the room so it is shaded in the summer and heated by the sun in the winter. The only time we’ve ever had difficulty keeping it cool was an engagement party with more than 80 people in attendance on a very hot day and the AC could not keep up with the 100 watts of energy emitted by each person in attendance. On sunny afternoons in the winter, the heat is rarely needed.

  22. bobn permalink
    January 20, 2022 2:40 am

    Hotter places – like california and spain have bigger windows to let the buildings cool. in Uk the windows are smaller to keep it warmer. This is the CCC morons getting everything back to front and upside down again. Surely this is just an idiots proposal that will be thrown away.

  23. Adam Gallon permalink
    January 20, 2022 6:26 am

    The issue is the myriad of small companies, sell cheap, crap conservatories. Polycarbonate roofs, no vents & an inadequate number of openable windows.
    Smaller windows, mean darker houses, so more need for lighting in any season bar summer.

  24. Gamecock permalink
    January 20, 2022 12:38 pm

    The state doesn’t trust you to properly manage your windows . . . so you can’t have any.

  25. Steve permalink
    January 20, 2022 3:27 pm

    Have they never heard of shutters or blinds? A conservatory or large South facing windows are very useful elements in energy efficiency in house design, especially with fuel and electricity costs increasing. When it’s too hot we just open the doors or close the blinds. These interfering zealots are becoming a joke.

  26. David permalink
    January 20, 2022 9:07 pm

    No joke. Just utter disgust at their utter stupidity (or malevolence)

  27. William Flood permalink
    January 23, 2022 11:26 am

    Even more impressive, the average annual UK temperature (met office data) shows NO increase in temperature over the last 25 years. The best fit line is horizontal. Nobody seems to look at actual data. There is NO warming trend in recent years

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