Keep your cool at home this summer – and beyond

British terraced houses

This summer has been a mixed bag so far (isn't it always?) but we've had some scorching days and we should expect more – not just this summer but beyond: climate change is increasing temperatures and as more of us live in cramped cities the heat levels inside our homes could get pretty uncomfortable.

Some things we can't change easily, like living in single-aspect homes that are hard to cross-ventilate, or near noisy places like roads where leaving a window open would be an annoyance.

But Home Quality Mark – a new stamp developed by BRE that helps people see how well designed, built and cost effective their homes are – has some advice that doesn't mean fitting air conditioning.

In the short term, you can help your house cool down before bedtime by cooking earlier in the day and for short periods – stoves really do make your kitchen hot – and by ventilating ASAP in the evening. Also try to block out midday sun using blinds or curtains.

Longer term, homeowners and landlords should consider installing heat-absorbing glass when upgrading windows, avoid installing large bi-fold doors if there isn't also a small secure window which can be left open at night, and ensure insulation is up to scratch – it's not just to keep homes warm in winter; it absorbs external heat in the summer too.

Gwyn Roberts, Lead at the Home Quality Mark, comments: "The threat of climate change means that the issues we are seeing with overheating and its negative effects on our health through discomfort and increased indoor air pollution will only continue. Homebuilding must be more efficient and tackle this issue head on, using construction techniques and forward-thinking design to make positive steps forward."

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