Impact of climate change on energy use and bioclimate design of residential buildings in the 21st century in Argentina

Significance 

Climate change and greenhouse gas emission are among the current global problems that require immediate solution. Apart from the consumption of fossils fuels, building’s energy consumption has slowly but steadily risen to become among the greenhouse gas emitters due to the growth in population and human activities. For instance, 40% of global energy is currently consumed by the building sector. Therefore, considering the hazardous effects of global warming on human health and the ecosystem in general, efficient mitigation measures for controlling energy consumption and greenhouse gases emissions in buildings is highly desirable.

In a recently published literature, it has been showed that climate change will have a significant impact on the building’s energy consumption located in both hot and cold climatic regions even though the overall impact varies depending on the climatic zones. As such, residential and office building design and development should take into consideration the effects of climate changes on energy performance. This has attracted significant attention of researchers who are interested in developing efficient alternative strategies to reduce building energy consumption. Among the proposed strategies, bioclimatic approaches have proved a promising solution in lowering the energy consumption in buildings. But, a given bioclimatic strategy that today is appropriate in a certain place could not be the optimal choice if future climate change conditions are considered.

To this note, CONICET researchers: Dr. Silvana Flores-Larsen, Dr. Celina Filippín, and Dr. Gustavo Barea assessed the various ways in which the climatic changes will affect the building’s energy consumption. Specifically, Argentina climatic conditions were used as a case study. They wanted to evaluate appropriate bioclimatic strategies for the design of future residential and offices buildings with the aim of minimizing energy consumption taking into consideration the current and future climate changes. Their work is currently published in the research journal, Energy and Buildings.

In brief, the research team initiated their research work by exploring the temperate and warm climatic conditions for the four selected regions in Argentina. Next, they used EnergyPlus software and measured data to simulate conventional housing in these regions. Also, they analyzed the impact on energy consumption on the bioclimate strategies for both medium- and long-term climate change.

The Argentinian authors predicted a future increase in the air temperature ranging from 2.2 °C to 3.8 °C for all the four sites with the most affected regions being in the lower latitude. Also, an increase in the cooling loads and decrease in the heating loads is generally expected. Consequently, it was worth noting that three of the analyzed regions exhibited a general decrease in annual energy consumption.

In summary, it was important to note that depending on the local factors, global climate change affects different regions in different ways as depicted by four assessed regions in Argentina. In general, building design prototypes should be developed based on the climatic topologies of the desired region. Also, a combination of sun shading and minimizing direct solar gains proved a promising design solution for climate change in future buildings. Altogether, the study by Silvana Flores-Larsen and her colleagues provided vital information that will pioneer energy consumption reduction in residential building globally.

Impact of climate change on energy use and bioclimate design of residential buildings in the 21st century in Argentina - Advances in Engineering
Energy consumption for air cooling versus monthly mean maximum outdoor air temperature in summer (January, left) and energy consumption for air heating versus monthly mean minimum outdoor air temperature in winter (July, right), per square meter, for the case-study building in the four cities and for the four periods (TMY, 2020, 2050 and 2080). An increase of about 2.2 kWh/m2 (summer) and a decrease of 3.0 kWh/m2 (winter) per 1ºC of monthly mean temperature change are predicted.
Impact of climate change on energy use and bioclimate design of residential buildings in the 21st century in Argentina - Advances in Engineering
View on Google Earth of the four selected cities in Argentina.

About the author

SILVANA FLORES LARSEN

Senior researcher of the National Council for Scientific and Technological Research (CONICET). Professor at National University of Salta, Argentina.

Silvana Flores Larsen received the degree in Physics (1998) and Ph.D degree in Sciences – Renewable Energy (2003) from National University of Salta, Argentina. She is a senior researcher of the National Council for Scientific and Technological Research, and Professor of Solar Thermal Energy at National University of Salta. She participates as post-degree professor in masters and PhD courses.

Her area of research is related to the energy efficiency in buildings and their thermal computer simulation, and the experimental development of solar equipment. She has published more than 150 articles in peer-reviewed journals and conferences. She directs students of Master Science Degree and PhD students of many universities and research teams of scientific projects supported by different national and international organisms in topics of solar energy and building physics.

About the author

CELINA FILIPPIN

Senior researcher of the National Council for Scientific and Technological Research, (CONICET) Argentina.

Celina Filippín has a Degree in Architecture (1987) from the National University of La Plata, Argentina, Magister in Renewable Energy (2000) and a Ph.D in Sciences – Renewable Energy (2005) from the National University of Salta, Argentina. She is a senior researcher of the National Council for Scientific and Technological Research (CONICET), Argentina and pos – degree professor at National University of Catamarca, La Plata, Córdoba, San Juan, Mendoza, Argentina.

Her area of research is related to the energy efficiency buildings design and their thermal computer simulation and coordination of the low energy building design, technology transfer activities and the monitoring under real condition of use. She was member of the Architecture Ad-hoc Committee and member of the Rating Board at CONICET. She has published more than 150 articles in peer-reviewed journals and conferences. She directs Master Science Degree and PhD students of many universities and research teams of scientific projects supported by different national and international organisms in topics of bioclimatic architecture.

About the author

GUSTAVO J. BAREA PACI

Junior researcher of the National Council for Scientific and Technological Research, (CONICET) Argentina.

Graduate in Architecture and Urbanism of Universidad de Mendoza, Argentina. Specialist in Design Update of Universidad de Buenos Aires, PhD in Sciences– Renewable Energy from the National University of Salta. He has participated in numerous national and international architecture and urbanism competitions, obtaining first and second prizes.

He currently is Assistant Researcher at CONICET, working at INAHE-CCT-Mendoza. His research field is Building Bioclimatology with particular focus on multi-azimuthal windows for natural conditioning of buildings. Professor at Universidad Nacional de San Luis, at the chair of Solar Architecture, as well as for post graduate courses on energy simulation. He participates in research projects with distinguished national researchers.

He is author and co-author of various international refereed journals. Active member of ASADES (Solar Energy and Environment Association) and IBPSA Argentina (International Building Performance Simulation Association). He is a peer-reviewer of international journals, such as Energy and Building, Solar Energy, and Renewable Energy.

Reference

Flores-Larsen, S., Filippín, C., & Barea, G. (2019). Impact of climate change on energy use and bioclimatic design of residential buildings in the 21st century in Argentina. Energy and Buildings, 184, 216-229.

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