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Climate Change Projections & Office Buildings Design: A Qualitative Study
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Climate Change Projections & Office Buildings Design: A Qualitative Study

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CIBSE Technical Symposium, DeMontfort University, Leicester UK
6th and 7th September 2011

The Low Carbon Futures (LCF) Project, as part of the Adaptation and Resilience to Climate Change (ARCC) programme, has integrated the latest probabilistic UK Climate Projections (UKCP09) with dynamic building simulation calculations, to develop a tool for predicting the risk of buildings overheating in the future. Feedback is currently being sought from building professionals to ensure that this tool and its outputs not only have increased relevance and practicality, but also a user friendly and efficient interface.
Whilst the project investigates a number of different building types, this paper focuses on office buildings. The data is gathered from three different modes: a questionnaire, focus groups and semi-structured interviews, with the triangulation method being used to increase the confidence in the findings. From this investigation it emerges that the trend of over sizing systems and rules of thumb still dominate as the typical Heating, Ventilation and Air-Conditioning (HVAC) design approach. For adapting to climate change the cooling plant is often oversized and operates most of the time, at a sub-optimal efficiency level. Designers are often hesitant to take a new approach such as probabilistic projections and are more than happy to take a tried and tested formula for an application that they are familiar with. For building refurbishment, a designer tends to build in a margin based on the history of energy usage in the building rather than future climates.

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