Exposure duration in overheating assessments: A retrofit modelling study

W.V. Lee, Koen Steemers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A new indicator of overheating risk is introduced that more comprehensively represents heat stress and the way thermal environment is experienced. This indicator is compared with the industry standard overheating assessment approach (CIBSE TM52). This is demonstrated using an energy retrofit simulation case study of a typical London, UK terraced dwelling under different climate scenarios. Overheating was evaluated first according to TM52, then via an assessment of continuously overheated intervals (COIs) that account for the duration where adaptive limits are continuously exceeded. Results for the case study show that, first, extent of overheating can vary greatly based on climate uncertainties. Second, insulation retrofit only contributes to substantial overheating when the space lacks proper ventilation or protection from solar radiation. Nevertheless, overheating cannot be avoided completely under future climate scenarios even with appropriate passive cooling. More importantly, the results show that overheated hours tend to occur consecutively. This implies that violations of TM52 criterion 1 (which currently applies only at the seasonal scale) can occur at the monthly/weekly resolutions. This ‘buried’ information can be revealed via the COI approach to more comprehensively capture how an overheating situation unfolds in a manner more relevant to heat stress and occupants’ thermal experience.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-82
Number of pages23
JournalBuilding Research and Information
Issue number1-2
Early online date30 Nov 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Nov 2016


  • building performance
  • heat stress
  • houses
  • insulation
  • overheating
  • retrofit
  • simulation
  • thermal comfort


Dive into the research topics of 'Exposure duration in overheating assessments: A retrofit modelling study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this