“A Heating, Ventilation And Air Conditioning (HVAC) Adaptation Solution At A Time Of Record-Breaking Temperatures”
Extreme temperature and weather events are increasing in frequency and intensity alongside increasing average humidity and temperatures. These increases are driving elevated energy usage. The northern hemisphere has experienced some exceptionally high temperatures during the summer months of June and July. Temperatures have soared to 49.6°C in Canada, resulting in more than 486 deaths over the past couple of weeks. In California this month, Death Valley experienced the highest ever recorded temperature on Earth at 54.4°C, surpassing the previous record held by Kuwait in the Middle East at 53.2°C. The increase of this global record of 1.2 °C is substantial and worthy of attention. Heat and increasing humidity in some regions can trigger significant health effects for those without access to air conditioning, causing death in the most severe cases.
As a result of these unprecedented temperatures, many facilities have been damaged, and public infrastructure has proved to be vulnerable. For example, two power stations were shut down in recent events, electric streetcars stopped, a light rail system packed in, a home-threatening wildfire erupted, and some roads even buckled in the heat with oozing tar. These events alone have demonstrated that the malfunctioning of crucial infrastructure has severe consequences for our society, economy, and the environment.
As the frequency and duration of these extreme weather events increases, companies must become proactive to improve their resiliency. In addition, planners, managers, and engineers must consider the frequency of occurrence and risks associated with these events. Buildings, both old and new, are not typically adapted to withstand such events, as a resilient building approach is not considered worthy of the financial cost.
However, the increasing frequency of extreme events highlights both the operational and economic importance of incorporating resiliency into building designs, including heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. For example, accounting for future conditions in the design of an HVAC system will help avoid the necessity for costly capacity upgrades during the system’s lifespan. Furthermore, shifting climate poses a threat to the integrity of the building HVAC systems and therefore to human health and safety. Heatwaves will continue to test the durability, effectiveness, and efficiency of HVAC systems.
Currently, many companies are faced with the question of “how do we make our infrastructure more resilient to these rising extremes?” These decision-makers must have robust climate information, including extreme event occurrences at hand. Fortunately, CLIMsystems and Resilient Analytics have ample experience in the supply of this information. With this data in hand, companies can assess their building portfolio’s climatic risks.
CLIMsystems and Resilient Analytics have just released a tried and tested HVAC analysis solution to help building asset owners and managers better understand their risk to a changing climate for planning and implementing adaptation measures to help address these vulnerabilities. Undoubtedly, HVAC systems are linked to thermal comfort and wellbeing. Our HVAC analysis approach uses robust, high-quality historical weather data and future climate change model information. Building asset owners and managers are provided with invaluable information to direct their decisions and ensure that their facilities remain safe, healthy, and comfortable for their employees and visitors. For example, the operation, performance, and financial implications of changes in climate for new and existing HVAC systems can be evaluated to support maintenance, retrofitting and investment decisions. As extreme temperatures become more common, the cost of sustaining a building’s condition increases. Our HVAC solution encourages proactive thinking and planning, which can significantly reduce these costs.
In addition to modelling the effect that extreme conditions have on HVAC systems, our analysis can also model the effect that rising climatic norms will have on annual system heating and cooling energy usage. Knowledge of such information can allow for building asset owners and managers to proactively plan to offset increasing operating costs using tailored adaptation measures.
Some of the variables available in these analyses include annual heating, humidification, cooling, dehumidification, enthalpy, and extreme annual and monthly climatic design conditions. An ensemble approach when applying climate model data means that statistical probabilities of 5th, 50th and 95th percentiles can be considered when setting design parameters. Additionally, the team also provides expert advice on risk profiling and full and comprehensive documentation of the data and methods applied.
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