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How to cool buildings in rising temperatures

How to cool buildings in rising temperatures

A sample energy performance certificate

Two strategies were released by the UK government in October on how to achieve their objectives. net zero emissions target by 2050 – the net zeroStrategy and the Heat and buildings strategy. Both look at how you can. Decarbonise the UK’s economy, they also both overlook an important feature of the future of energy consumption – the demand for cooling.

The Most recent report from the UN’s intergovernmental panelClimate change is a sign that extreme heat will become more common as the planet warms. Maximum temperatures in some parts of England are expected to rise by more than 5%. 0.4℃ per decade. This means that cooling buildings is a crucial issue.

It is important to do this cooling efficiently. For example, increasing insulation can reduce overheating in well-designed buildings, but it can increase overheating in others without a good ventilation system – resulting in Health problemscaused by pollution in the atmosphere. Unfortunately, the UK’s strategies haven’t properly addressed this.

Currently, the UK’s Cooling energy demandIs approximately 15.5 Terawatt hoursEach year. This energy is used primarily in offices and shops.

This number will only rise. In a Worst case global warming scenario, where the planet’s surface warms by around 4℃, demand for cooling will Quadruple by 2100The UK.

It’s also projected that 75% to 85 %Most UK households will install air conditioning by the end of this century in response to rising temperatures. This could increase the UK’s current monthly Electricity consumptionSummer season: Up to 15%

Currently, the government’s decarbonisation strategy focuses on increasing the use of Energy performance certificates. These certificates – which you can now find on most buildings – provide a formal rating of how energy efficient a building is, based on things like its design and whether its energy comes from renewable or non-renewable sources. The government’s TargetIt is for all houses to reach band C and offices, to reach band B on the scale by 2035.

A sample energy performance certificate
Energy performance certificates are a way to see how much energy a building uses.
Naturewise/Flickr, CC BY -NC -ND

While these targets provide a good starting point, they’re limited in how much they can achieve. Environmental standards permitted by band C fall woefully short of those permitted by band A, allowing three times band A’s non-renewable energy consumption. Ratings are based upon AverageClimate conditions are not possible Future temperatures.

Change the cooling

At the moment, the UK does not have any energy policies that specifically address cooling energy demand. It is necessary to establish specific regulations that make buildings comfortable to live and work within without the need to install additional cooling devices.

An old barn with solar panels
To increase sustainability, older buildings can be renovated.
Kolforn/Wikimedia

These could include adding sun protectionTo stop heat from accumulating inside buildings, or creating heat, install windows and reflective materials on the exterior of buildings. efficient ventilation systemsThese allow wind to flow naturally through buildings, removing heat and pollutants.

It’s not hard to make buildings significantly cooler with comparatively little effort. One Take this example, just adding ceiling fans to a building with air conditioning installed allowed air conditioning to comfortably be dialed back 3℃, reducing that building’s energy consumption by more than 21%. If people are still warm they could use devices such as cooling chairs.

After the cooling requirement has been reduced, the best cooling technologies should be used. Since cooling systems (like fans) usually run on electricity – unlike current heating systems, which are mainly based on gas – there is a huge opportunity to make cooling sustainable by fuelling it with renewable energy.

Three ways to reduce cooling impacts
We’ve identified three main ways to reduce the environmental impact of UK cooling demand.

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This could be done either by using rooftop-mounted energy or by making energy on-site. solar panelsYou can also make sure that the energy used to cool buildings is being sourced sustainably. Buildings can be Synced up with peaks in local renewable generation – when electricity demand is low and renewable power availability high – to make cooling even greener.

Finally, Fluorinated Gases(F-gases in air-conditioning units shouldn’t be reduced or limited as suggested in the heat and building strategy. They should be phased out and severely penalised to force the transition towards alternative clean gases.

F-gases may leak from units, causing rapid global warming. 22800 timesIn the short-term, more carbon dioxide is produced than the average. Net zero unitsThat you use sustainable natural refrigerantThe cooling market should be dominated by gases such as propane, ammonia, or isobutane.

We have a very limited window of opportunity to address the future cooling. Before rising temperatures increase our cooling emissions and impede progress towards net zero targets, we must act quickly. The future of cooling must be a priority.

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