Building Simulation: An International Journal

Article Title

Climate change: Projections and implications to building energy use


climate change, projection, validation, building energy use, morphing algorithm


Changes in climate have significant impacts on built environment. Many of the potential effects of climate change on the building sector are not well known. Previous studies have used a small number of climate projection models and scenarios, with the majority only using one or two models with multiple scenarios. This study identified and analyzed twenty-three climate models with one or more scenario for each model for total of fifty-six model scenarios. Future hourly weather data between 2011 and 2099 was generated with the morphing algorithm for seven climate zones in the US. Using cooling degree day (CDD) and heating degree day (HDD) as energy impact indicators, the study revealed that different climate models (even within the same RCP scenario) yield largely different results for building energy implications. To simplify application, four reference climate models were selected to represent the full range of the fifty-six model outputs, whose accuracy was validated using historical data. The study explored the impacts of climate changes on energy use of five typical US building types in Ann Arbor, MI, as a demonstration, which presented a general trend of site energy decrease and source energy increase for this location. The research further examined the influences of humidity and found that dry bulb temperature dominates the changes in building energy consumption and relative humidity only has a relatively larger impact on extreme cases in cooling dominated climates.


Tsinghua University Press