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The Effects of Future Climate Change on Energy Consumption in Residential Buildings in China

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DOI: 10.4236/jpee.2013.15003    3,796 Downloads   5,314 Views   Citations

ABSTRACT

China is currently going through a phase of rapid mass urbanisation, and it is important to investigate how the growing built environment will cope with climate change, to see how the energy consumption of buildings in China will be affected. This is especially important for the fast-growing cities in the north, and around the east and south coasts. This paper aims to study the effects of future climate change on the energy consumption of buildings in the three main climate regions of China, namely the “Cold” region in the north, which includes Beijing; the “Hot Summer Cold Winter” region in the east, which includes cities such as Shanghai and Ningbo; and the “Hot Summer Mild Winter” region in the south, which includes Guangzhou. Using data from the climate model, HadCM3, Test Reference Years are generated for the 2020s, 2050s and 2080s, for various IPCC future scenarios. These are then used to access the energy performance of typical existing buildings, and also the effects of retrofitting them to the standard of the current building codes. It was found that although there are reductions in energy consumption for heating and cooling with retrofitting existing residential buildings to the current standard, the actual effects are very small compared with the extra energy consumption that comes as a result of future climate change. This is especially true for Guangzhou, which currently have very little heating load, so there is little benefit of the reduction in heating demand from climate change. The effects of retrofitting in Beijing are also limited, and only in Ningbo was the effect of retrofitting able to nullify the effects of climate change up to 2020s. More improvements in building standards in all three regions are required to significantly reduce the effects of future climate change, especially to beyond 2020s.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

Chow, D. , Kelly, M. and Darkwa, J. (2013) The Effects of Future Climate Change on Energy Consumption in Residential Buildings in China. Journal of Power and Energy Engineering, 1, 16-24. doi: 10.4236/jpee.2013.15003.

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