Building today for tomorrow’s climate

Written on Apr 21, 2017

Did you know that the energy consumption of buildings will change over their lifecycle as our climate changes? Historic climate data included in building codes doesn’t provide sufficient information when it comes to designing buildings for the future. As a result, Entuitive is not only looking back but, more importantly, is looking forward to determine how buildings can be better designed and constructed to be more resilient to our planet’s changing climate.

It’s not surprising that buildings constructed using only historic climate data will become less efficient as our climate changes over its lifecycle, and will have higher operating costs as temperatures continue to rise. To provide architects and engineers with the information necessary to inform their decisions, and to regulate industry practices, it’s critical for building codes to include climate data and envelope performance requirements that more accurately account for projected climate conditions.

With typical commercial buildings in Toronto, projected temperature increases will significantly affect energy use. Creating building envelopes using design solutions proven to be effective in both current and projected climates can limit energy usage and the resulting GHG emissions contributing to accelerating climate change. And it also results in buildings that generally perform better from a resilience, operations and occupant comfort perspective – which also, not coincidently, increase the value of the building.

Entuitive, in collaboration with RWDI, is conducting a research study to understand the key considerations for developing high-performing and sustainable buildings that will ensure future climate resiliency. The study will address methods of generating future climate data and contrasting statistical manipulation against simulations.

With buildings consuming nearly half of all energy produced and accounting for half of CO2 emissions, it’s imperative that our industry focuses on transforming the way buildings are designed, built and operated.