Shading for housing

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The Good Homes Alliance (GHA) and the British Blind and Shutter Association (BBSA) have launched a new design guide on shading for housing, seeking to embed a new culture – among building makers of all stripes – in which shading is central to a building’s design and built-in from the start.

The work has been led by an experienced team at award-winning architect Pollard Thomas Edwards (PTE), including sustainability lead Tom Dollard, author of ‘Designed to Perform’, Passivhaus designer Joseba Perez, and sustainable design specialist Raffaella Corrieri.

The guide was launched at a popular in-person event on 9th November at PTE’s offices at Diespeker Wharf in London, with talks from the wider project team which includes renowned engineering firm Max FordhamRajat Gupta, Professor of Sustainable Architecture and Climate Change at Oxford Brookes University, and construction consultants, Martin Arnold.

Why is the guide needed? Future proofing and climate resilience

As global temperatures continue to rise, so does the risk of buildings overheating. A recent study1 shows that by the middle of the 2030s, 90% of the UK housing stock will suffer from overheating. Simply put, our built environment – designed for dampness, breeze, rain and mild heat – is in no fit state to shelter us from this changing climate.

Currently in the UK, buildings are not required to pass the overheating criteria using future weather files to comply with the Building Regulations. Modelling using predicted future weather data has shown that buildings designed with shading products built-in from the start are less likely to overheat in the future than those that aren’t.

This guide calls for a new design culture in the UK. A design culture in which the everyday specification of shading products on domestic buildings – or the designing for shading from the start – is second nature among developers, housebuilders, architects and consultants.

The public too, buyers and tenants alike, should be well-versed in the benefits that shading products bring, in terms of reduced running costs, improved comfort and general wellbeing. The guide provides a shading ‘cheat sheet’ focused on the practicalities of adapting to holistic shading design.

What is in the guide?

A product section provides detailed information to help users to select the right product for a building’s shading needs. Each product page features a brief description, a table detailing its functionality, an in-situ product photograph, a ‘performance web’ visualising a product’s strengths and weaknesses and, where relevant, an architect’s comment on a product’s added value.

The guide also provides a short history of shading design, explores UK-specific design challenges and wraps up with best practice advice.

The guidance is applicable to both new build and retrofit projects, and aimed at a range of stakeholders including architects, local authorities, planners, housing associations, developers, and policy makers.

Who has supported the guide?

Development of the guide has been supported by:

Ballymore – See case studies

Caribbean Blinds – See image gallery

Guthrie Douglas – See project gallery

Louvolite – See style blog

A steering group* of industry experts and stakeholders from across the sector has supported the development of the guide, with representatives from Architype, Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Service, CIBSE, ECD Architects, NDM Heath, OX Place, Sovereign, TOWN and Urban Light Surveyors.


Download the guide 

  • File type: .pdf
  • File size: 5mb
  • Published: November 2023

Additional report – ‘Embodied carbon of shading products


“Since 2014, when Good Homes Alliance published ‘Preventing Overheating’ an evidence-based report on overheating and mitigation, we have worked on guidance and tools to mitigate overheating in homes.  In 2019, we launched our tool and guidance to identify and mitigate overheating risks for new homes, followed by a version for retrofit and existing homes in 2022. This latest guidance expands on applicable strategies, seeking to influence decision making at an early stage, and provide the industry with the tools and knowledge to identify and integrate shading solutions as part of a holistic approach to resilience and aesthetics appropriate for our climate challenge.”

Lynne Sullivan OBE, Chair, Good Homes Alliance

“A guide like this, researched and prepared by a multi-disciplinary team from the built environment and the solar shading industry, is long overdue. The BBSA is proud to have been involved in developing such a practical and useful guide to help make our homes more energy efficient and comfortable, now and in the future.”

Andrew Chalk, Director of Operations, BBSA

“Our homes are overheating, and we simply can’t afford to address this with increasing mechanical ventilation or air conditioning. It is clear that shading must become a central component of design approaches to prevent increased overheating and unnecessary carbon emissions. I hope this guide goes some way to enable this necessary change in design culture, by increasing our knowledge and awareness of the range of shading types available, to help us design beautiful shading solutions that deliver improved outcomes for people and planet.”

Tom Dollard, Partner – Sustainability and Innovation, Pollard Thomas Edwards

“It is essential that the design of buildings prioritises future-proofing and protecting users from the effects of the climate emergency. As the earth’s climate warms and the thermal performance of buildings improves, overheating mitigation becomes more about keeping heat out of buildings, rather than in. Solar shading has a critical role to play in this. We hope this shading design guide will illustrate the opportunities for incorporating shading in buildings and help building owners, designers, and developers to choose the best option for their project.”

Kai Salman-Lord, Senior Building Performance Modeller, Max Fordham LLP

“Research studies have often raised the need for integrating shading in our homes for building long-term resilience against heat. For the first time, this report provides compressive evidence-based guidance on the performance of different shading products, to enable building design team and housing providers incorporate shading solutions for future-proofing new builds and retrofits.”

Professor Rajat Gupta, Professor of Sustainable Architecture and Climate Change, Oxford Brookes University

“The threat to life due to homes overheating in summer is rapidly overtaking the danger posed by lack of heating in winter. Solar shading can be the silver-bullet, regulating temperature whilst saving energy, and insulating properties in the winter too; but only if it is well-designed and not an afterthought. This guide is a great starting point for any specifier asking themselves how to achieve that.”

Andrew Kitching, Managing Director, Guthrie Douglas

“Climate change is no secret, and the issue of overheating will only become more apparent as time goes on. Whilst the solution to combat this problem already exists to an extent, solar shading products have an important part to play in helping our climate journey and need to be designed and incorporated from the outset.

Every measure needs to be taken to address the installation of solar shading during the design stage of any building in order to ensure its energy efficiency is at its highest, preventing the increasing number of homes from turning into unhabitable ‘greenhouses’ and ultimately cooling our planet.

This guide will go a long way in clearly setting out the ways in which the housebuilding industry can work together to minimise and mitigate overheating risk in new and existing homes. We’re proud to be helping raise awareness of this ever-growing and very real issue.”

Stuart Dantzic, Managing Director, Caribbean Blinds

* Full steering group list: Andrew Chalk, British Blind and Shutter Association; Dave Bush, British Blind and Shutter Association; Zoe de Grussa, British Blind and Shutter Association; Richard Broad, Good Homes Alliance; Julian Brooks, Good Homes Alliance; Rajat Gupta, Oxford Brookes University; Chris Martin, Martin Arnold; Anastasia Mylona, The Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE); Belen Alemany, Energy Conscious Design Architects (ECD); Debbie Haynes, OX Place; Emma Davies, Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Service; Nicholas Heath, NDM Heath; Gregory Francis, Urban Light Surveyors; Adrian Coe, Urban Light Surveyors; Richard Young, Sovereign; Steve Birtles, Louvolite; Stuart Dantzic, Caribbean Blinds; Andy Kitching, Guthrie Douglas; Aaron Caffrey, Ballymore; Bryn Marler, Ballymore; Neil Murphy, TOWN; Seb Laan Lomas, Architype.

1 ARUP, Addressing overheating risk in existing UK homes (2022) An Arup report commissioned by the Climate Change Committee; retrieved online September 2023.

Further information

Good Homes Alliance – A sustainability organisation with a focus on net zero, new build homes and building performance. Membership network of 120+ members from across industry including architects and consultants, plus 30+ local authorities, housing associations and private sector developers, who are set to build 120,000 new homes over the next 10 years.

The shading guide follows on from popular industry guidance developed by GHA on minimising and mitigating overheating risk in new and existing homes.

British Blind and Shutter Association (BBSA) – A national trade association with 500+ members that manufacture, supply and install interior and exterior blinds, awnings, security grilles and shutters and associated motor and control systems.

For more information about the project, please contact Richard Broad, Projects Manager, Good Homes Alliance –


Net Zero Planning Policy Resource Hub


Data Ethics Canvas

It encourages you to ask important questions about projects that use data, and reflect on the responses. These might be:

  • What is your primary purpose for using data in this project?
  • Who could be negatively affected by this project?

The Data Ethics Canvas provides a framework to develop ethical guidance that suits any context, whatever the project’s size or scope.

Data Ethics Canvas

Download PDF

Why has this document been added to the GHA Knowledge Base?

The Data Ethics Canvas framework was featured by William Box, Founder, Carnego Systems at a BPN/GHA webinar on 11th July 2023 – ‘People and their data – ethics and engagement of building performance evaluation‘.

Further information

Guidance Tool

Overheating in Retrofit and Existing Homes – Tool and Guidance

About the tool

The new tool responds to demand from designers, housing associations, environmental health officers, and other parties concerned with overheating risks in the existing housing stock, which are likely to increase further due to climate change and higher temperatures.

This tool is intended for use at the early stages of residential retrofit projects, or on existing homes, in order to identify key factors contributing to overheating risk and possible mitigation measures. It is applicable to existing homes, retrofits, and conversions of non-domestic buildings to residential accommodation.

The tool and guidance are meant to be easy to use by non-specialists to inform early-stage big impact decisions. They promote holistic consideration of overheating risk together with the site context and linked design issues such as ventilation and noise. The potential impacts of energy efficiency measures through retrofit are included, but the tool also highlights the important opportunities for retrofit to contribute not only to overheating risk mitigation, but also improvements in air quality and energy efficiency.

The tool builds upon the beta version which launched in March 2022, with new case studies and improved functionality. We would like to thank everyone who contributed with their comments and case studies.




Authors and supporters

The main author of this guidance is Julie Godefroy of Julie Godefroy Sustainability, with support from Susie Diamond of Inkling LLP.

The project has been co-funded by the National Energy Foundation, and the BEIS funded REFINE project on radical decarbonisation of social housing through whole house energy retrofits.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the development of this tool and guidance, including Clare Murray (Levitt Bernstein), John Palmer (LETI), Jack Harvie-Clarke (Apex Acoustics), Anthony Chilton (Max Fordham), Harry Paticas (RAFT), Amad Kayani (Historic England), Lucy and Tom Pemble, and all those who provided comments in the feedback workshop or by email.

The REFINE project is one of the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund Demonstrators led by Warwick District Council and Oxford Brookes University with Enhabit/QODA Consulting and Sarah Wigglesworth Architects.

We would like to thank the following steering group members for their input during the project:

  • Hayley Chivers, Sarah Wigglesworth Architects
  • Paul Ciniglio, National Energy Foundation
  • Prof. Rajat Gupta, Oxford Brookes University
  • Dr Sarah Price, QODA Consulting
  • Katharine Ray, Warwick District Council
  • Sarah Wigglesworth, Sarah Wigglesworth Architects
  • Tim Wilcockson, QODA Consulting

More information

For more information about the Overheating in Retrofit and Existing Homes tool, please contact Julie Godefroy – or Susie Diamond –

For more information about the Good Homes Alliance, please contact Julian Brooks, Programmes Director –, 0330 355 6274.


Part O 2021 (England) Technical Guidance

This document provides guidance on how to comply with the Building Regulations Part O requirement to assess and limit overheating risk in residential buildings. It focuses on homes (“residential dwellings” in Part O). While much of it is applicable to other types of residential buildings, specific considerations will apply to accommodation such as care homes.


Find the Overheating: Approved Document O on the UK Government Website here


Circular Economy 1-pager

The LETI Circular Economy Summary is the first publication from the LETI Circular Economy Workstream. This will be followed by a Circular Economy Primer which aims to explore circularity concepts in the built environment in more detail.


Author: LETI

Publication date: April 2022

More information:


Mayor of London Delivering Quality Homes Handbook draft

“Every Londoner should have access to a well-designed, safe, good quality home they can afford. This should be a right, not the preserve of the rich. Yet, too many Londoners continue to face inadequate housing options. COVID-19 has shone a fresh light on housing inequalities across the country, including in our capital city. The impact of this health crisis has been worsened by the existing housing crisis, with many confined to unsuitable accommodation.”


Author: Greater London Authority 

Publication date: November 2021


Climate Emergency Retrofit Guide

LETI’s Climate Emergency Retrofit Guide shows how we can retrofit our homes to make them fit for the future and support the UK’s Net Zero targets.  We define energy use targets for existing homes and provide practical guidance on how to achieve them.  

The guide is useful for architects, engineers, Local Authorities, social landlords, energy professionals, contractors and clients looking for guidance about best practice retrofit.

It is widely accepted that retrofitting our existing buildings is absolutely critical if we are to achieve Net Zero.  Around 18% of our annual national CO2e emissions come from existing homes – homes that will still be standing in 2050. 80% of 2050’s homes have already been built.  It is also widely acknowledged that the retrofit challenge is monumental.  Over one million homes every year for the next 30 years will need to be retrofitted.  We cannot afford to retrofit them twice.  But if we retrofit them well, we can enjoy many environmental, social and economic benefits.

This guide sets out what good retrofit looks like for existing homes.   We target energy consumption reductions of 60-80% for the average UK home.  This is achievable through a whole house approach upgrading the building fabric, incorporating energy efficiency measures, improving ventilation and fitting heat pumps. These targets have been determined through practical experience and understanding of what measures are realistically achievable.  They are also informed by a national housing stock model to examine issues such as renewable energy provision and grid capacity. The guide also points out the potential risks of poor retrofit and advises on how to deliver efficient, resilient and healthy homes. 


Quick start guide

The guide provides a quickstart guide to retrofit as well as typical house archetype examples for four primary housing types: semi-detached, detached, mid-terrace and a flat.  Click on the pages below for the quickstart guide and typical house archetype examples.

Author: LETI

Publication date: October 2021


Unlock Net Zero

Unlock Net Zero is a knowledge hub focusing on the practical reality of the transition to a net zero future. Net Zero refers to achieving a balance between the amount of Greenhouse Gas emissions produced and the amount removed from the atmosphere. To achieve this requires large-scale and extensive innovation across the UK energy system. This will involve disruptive change across all sectors and industries.

Unlock Net Zero seeks to inform, educate, and connect people and organisations involved in adopting a net zero approach, identifying the technologies, infrastructure and behaviour change required.

For news, case studies, resources, events and more, visit


Model Employer’s Requirements and Design Brief Clauses

The clauses are free-to-download and set minimum requirements for performance standards for energy (net zero), emissions, health, comfort and building performance evaluation.

Developed in collaboration with:

With input from our local authority (Vanguard) and housing association (Pathfinder) network members via a workshop.

The work has been kindly funded by the MCS Charitable Foundation.

About the clauses

The new clauses can be adopted by clients (i.e. local authorities, RSLs) and included in Employer’s Requirements and Design Guides. The clauses principally intend to:

  • Drive up standards by placing new build housing developments on a trajectory to net zero carbon and avoiding the need for retrofit work to be undertaken in future;
  • Improve and enhance the comfort, health, well-being and satisfaction of occupants while additionally maintaining provision of affordable warmth; and
  • Ensure that homes are built to perform in accordance with the design stage intentions (or better) by closing the ‘performance gap’.

The clauses provide minimum requirements set out as a performance specification which can be used in connection with both self-promoted and Section.106 developments, they should not be relied upon for any other purpose. Additionally, the clauses seek to clarify the responsibilities of designers and developers in satisfying the requirements.

The ERs are built around standards set by LETI in their Climate Emergency Design Guide, the Future Homes Standard and Woodknowledge Wales BPE Guidance.

Authors: For the Good Homes Alliance, authored by Paul Ciniglio, BM3e Principal, Boulter Mossman with input from Jim Allman, Director, Boulter Mossman and Prof. Tim Sharpe, independent consultant.

Publication date: June 2021, v3


Main document:





Launch event video

On June 1st 2021 we hosted the Model Employer’s Requirements and Design Brief Clauses launch event. You can watch the video of the event below. 

Speakers included:

  • Julian Brooks, Programmes Director, Good Homes Alliance
  • Adrian Ramsey, CEO, MCS Charitable Foundation
  • Paul Ciniglio, BM3e Principal, Boulter Mossman
  • Prof. Tim Sharpe, independent consultant