Impact of climate change on heating and cooling energy demand in houses in Brazil

Andrea Invidiata; Enedir Ghisi
Energy and Buildings

Energy consumption and thermal comfort in buildings are heavily affected by weather conditions. This study investigated the impact of climate change on thermal comfort conditions and on heating and cooling energy demand in dwellings in three cities in Brazil. Scenario A2 of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was selected to be used in the study. To quantify the impact, the Climate Change World Weather File Generator was used to produce weather data for future typical meteorological years, such as 2020, 2050 and 2080. The EnergyPlus computer programme was used to estimate the indoor air temperature and the annual heating and cooling energy demand in the future. In order to maintain the energy consumption in the houses at the level it is nowadays, passive design strategies such as solar shading, low absorptance and thermal insulation were assessed. Results show that there will be an increase in the annual energy demand ranging from 19%–65% among the three cities in 2020; 56%–112% in 2050; and 112%–185% in 2080. In the coldest city, the annual heating energy demand will decrease by 94% in 2080 due to an increase in the average temperature and global solar radiation. The use of passive design strategies may reduce up to 50% the future annual cooling and heating energy demand in houses in Brazil.