Climate change will impact building design and specifications

University of Exeter scientists create the first, comprehensive future weather predictions

Using existing UKCP09 (UK Climate Impacts Programme) data and the weather generator produced by Newcastle University and the University of East Anglia, scientists from the Centre for Energy and the Environment have created the first comprehensive future weather files that include a realistic representation of wind speed and direction.

The files are uncopyrighted and free to download meaning that anyone from schoolchildren to architects and engineers will be able to answer questions like ‘What will the weather be like in 2080?’ It also enables comparisons to be made between a typical year in the 2020’s and a typical year in the 2050’s for the first time.

One of the key beneficiaries of this new information will be members of the building industry where thermal modelling is already required to comply with building regulations in other European countries and is likely to be introduced to the UK in the near future.

Dr Tristan Kershaw explains ‘The 14,800 heat-related deaths in Paris in 2003 were in part due to the failure of buildings to modify the external environment. It has been estimated that, by the 2040’s, a 2003-type summer will be the norm in Europe. Our files are compatible with common building simulation software so, for the first time, architects and buildings engineers can easily adapt their designs to the effects of climate change.’

He continues ‘The UK has never had to face this problem before and has continued to design buildings based on the past climate. Most people now acknowledge that the UK climate will change and we hope that our research will help others to create adapted structures fit for the future.’

The files can be downloaded from the Centre for Energy and the Environment website.

Date: 2 June 2010

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