British homes are built for a temperate climate, especially older buildings such as the Regency properties that make up much of Brighton and Hove’s cityscape. But are they well suited to all the challenges we face today?
On the one hand, climate change is bringing hotter summers, even if this was only apparent here in June before the stubborn Jet Stream gave us a cold and wet July and locked in the severe heat to the south across much of Europe.
On the other hand, winter can still be cold and high energy bills make people more reluctant to turn it on in the autumn, while a lot of British homes are nowhere near as well insulated as they should be.
This is where shutters and blinds could come into their own, however, as they can be extremely useful for dealing with the extremes of heat and cold.
Responding to a recent Oxford University study that suggested Britain will need to do more than most countries to adjust to a changing climate, structural engineer Oliver Neve of Ramboll told PA news: “There’s an awful lot of work that has to be done within the existing (UK building) stock to prepare us for these climate changes.”
He said that blinds and shutters could be a great way of keeping heat out, noting these are commonplace not just in sunnier southern Europe, but even places like Lille in northern France with an “identical climate” to the UK.
At the same time, shutters can be very good at keeping heat in. This is particularly true for wood. Provided it is dry, it has very low thermal conductivity, which means it is a very good insulator.
That is important for helping keep the heat in during the evenings as the temperature drops in autumn. Indeed, if you are thinking about purchasing blinds or solid wood shutters now, you may be thinking more of the cold seasons ahead than what remains of summer.
However, over the lifetime of your shutters, there will be lots of hot days and cold days. That is why it makes sense to have something in place that helps keep the temperatures at a happy medium.