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Keeping Cool in the Heat

conservatory fan

Experts continue to debate whether the UK is heading for a drought as hosepipe bans begin to be enforced. These prolonged dry spells don’t happen very often in the UK, but they do happen and when they hit we all feel the consequences. The last one we witnessed was in 1976 when communities had their water supply replaced by communal standpipes in the street. Thankfully we’re not there yet, but people are remembering what it was like last time we saw heat like this for a longer period of time.

The human body in a heat wave

And of course, it’s in times of extreme weather that we once again start to ask the question, is the world heating up and is this a sign of things to come? And here’s a bit of science for you – did you know the human body simply can’t tolerate excessive heat. According to Science News magazine, the biological and chemical processes that keep us alive are best carried out at a core temperature of 36° to 37° Celsius (96.8° to 98.6° Fahrenheit), with slight variation from person to person. Beyond that, “the body’s primary response to heat is to try and get rid of it,” says Jonathan Samet, dean of the Colorado School of Public Health in Aurora.

No one is immune to heat, but it hits some groups harder than others. The elderly, considered the most vulnerable, have fewer sweat glands and their bodies respond more slowly to rising temperatures. Children haven’t fully developed the ability to regulate heat, and pregnant women can struggle due to the demands of the foetus. People with chronic diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity can have trouble dissipating heat too.

Sleep, what sleep?

And it’s not just the vulnerable that are suffering in the heat. As if we needed science to tell us this, but researchers are discovering more ways that heat can hurt, including the fact that hot nights make for bad sleep. The higher the night time temperatures, the more respondents reported getting too little shut-eye. And the further into a City you go, the worse the problem, with cities generally remaining several degrees higher, even at night, than the countryside around them.

Full of hot air

But what has all this got to do with your home improvements? Well, it’s in this heat that conservatories in particular, can not only become unbearable spaces to occupy, but can also have a huge impact on the living space they adjoin. If you have a conservatory with a polycarbonate roof especially, and you’ve come home after being out all day to open the door of your conservatory, you will have felt the overwhelming heat that pours into your home. You almost have to hold your breath until all your doors and windows are open, or perhaps the air conditioning unit is on and taking effect.

Imagine a better space

Imagine then a conservatory – your existing conservatory in fact – with a different roof on top that keeps the space much cooler in the warmer weather. Buildings in the US where heat waves are much more common place get cool-surface make-overs to try and bring their temperature down, and I suppose we have an equivalent for conservatories! A solid roof – either as part of a new conservatory, or a roof bought separately to fit on top of an existing conservatory can make all the difference in the summer – even in heat like we’ve been experiencing in recent weeks. The space isn’t exposed to anywhere near the same level of solar gain. But the benefits don’t stop there. A solid roof is equally useful in the winter months, when it keeps the heat in and the cold out.

So, if you have had enough of the wall of heat that hits you when you open the door to your conservatory and if you’re tired of not being able to enjoy your conservatory when it’s too hot, or too cold, outside it might be worth looking into replacing your existing roof with a solid roof alternative. We use the market leading Guardian Warm Roof solution and our friendly team would be happy to tell you more about its benefits and talk you through your options at a time to suit you. Please call us on 0800 026 4455 for more information.

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