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Title: Impact of climate change on U.S. building energy demand: Financial implications for consumers and energy suppliers

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Journal Article: Publisher's Accepted Manuscript
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Energy and Buildings
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 139; Journal Issue: C; Related Information: CHORUS Timestamp: 2018-01-11 23:09:03; Journal ID: ISSN 0378-7788
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Citation Formats

Huang, Jianhua, and Gurney, Kevin Robert. Impact of climate change on U.S. building energy demand: Financial implications for consumers and energy suppliers. Netherlands: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.1016/j.enbuild.2017.01.077.
Huang, Jianhua, & Gurney, Kevin Robert. Impact of climate change on U.S. building energy demand: Financial implications for consumers and energy suppliers. Netherlands. doi:10.1016/j.enbuild.2017.01.077.
Huang, Jianhua, and Gurney, Kevin Robert. Wed . "Impact of climate change on U.S. building energy demand: Financial implications for consumers and energy suppliers". Netherlands. doi:10.1016/j.enbuild.2017.01.077.
title = {Impact of climate change on U.S. building energy demand: Financial implications for consumers and energy suppliers},
author = {Huang, Jianhua and Gurney, Kevin Robert},
abstractNote = {},
doi = {10.1016/j.enbuild.2017.01.077},
journal = {Energy and Buildings},
number = C,
volume = 139,
place = {Netherlands},
year = {Wed Mar 01 00:00:00 EST 2017},
month = {Wed Mar 01 00:00:00 EST 2017}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record at 10.1016/j.enbuild.2017.01.077

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  • A changing climate will affect the energy system in a number of ways, one of which is through changes in demands for heating and cooling in buildings. Understanding the potential effect of climate on heating and cooling demands must take into account not only the manner in which the building sector might evolve over time - including, for example, movements from rural to urban environments in developing countries - but also important uncertainty about the nature of climate change itself and the growth and movements of populations over time. In this study, we explored the uncertainty in climate change impactsmore » on heating and cooling by constructing estimates of heating and cooling degree days for both a reference (no-policy) scenario and a climate mitigation scenario built from 0.5 degree latitude by 0.5 degree longitude resolution output from three different Global Climate Models (GCMs) and three gridded scenarios of population distribution. The implications that changing climate and population distribution might have for building energy consumption in the U.S. and China were then explored by using the heating and cooling degree days results as inputs to a detailed, building energy model, nested in the long-term global integrated assessment framework, Global Change Assessment Model (GCAM). Across the climate models and population distribution scenarios, the results indicate that unabated climate change would cause total final energy consumption to decrease modestly in both U.S. and China buildings by the end of the century, as decreased heating consumption is more than balanced by increased cooling using primarily electricity. However, the results also indicate that when indirect emissions from the power sector are also taken into account, climate change may have negligible effect on building sector CO2 emissions in the two countries. The variation in results due to variation of population distribution is noticeably smaller than variation due to the use of different climate models.« less
  • Most of the studies of the impact of global warming on energy use have employed aggregated utility models and have found that global warming would produce about a 2% decrease in heating requirements per 1 C and comparable increases in cooling requirements. The one significant exception is a German study that utilized building energy models and determined that the increase in cooling would be somewhat larger, due to the effects of increased humidity with atmospheric warming. This study utilizes the DOE2 building energy model on a prototype commercial building and demonstrates that increased humidity could be a significant factor inmore » total building energy use, particularly in the more humid parts of the US. The study also demonstrates that the effect can be overcome with advanced building designs.« less
  • Although much of the commercial sector infrastructure for the next century is currently under construction or is in the planning stages, little has been done in communicating how potential global warming might change the energy consumption characteristics of the building stock. The research discussed in this article advances the literature on how climate change affects commercial sector energy demand in the US at the national level. The article relies heavily on time-series regressions of monthly energy consumption by building on monthly heating and cooling degree days. It provides empirical results for the effects of climate on a projected building stockmore » in the year 2030 and examines the prospects for saving energy with advanced building designs in the context of potential global warming.« less
  • The Arizona monsoon in the southwestern U.S. brings summertime precipitation to a region where water most limits primary productivity. Woodland species in southern Utah were given 25 mm of artificial rain in late July and mid September, 1994, to evaluate inter and intraspecific responses to monsoon precipitation. {delta}D of xylem water and predawn water potential increased following irrigation for Juniperus osteosperma and Pinus edulis indicating that these species have active surface roots during the monsoon season. The capacity of these trees to respond to irrigation, however, was greater in September than in July. Either high soil temperature limits root functionmore » in July or surface root growth over August promotes greater response in September. Quercus gambelii, a common associate within these woodlands, did not respond to the irrigations, demonstrating its reliance on deeper roots through the growing season. Future shifts in the seasonality of precipitation might, therefore, have differential effects on these woodland species leading to vegetation change. Interactions between changes in temperature and the seasonality of precipitation, however, need to be considered when predicting these responses.« less