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The response from climate organisations, world leaders, large corporations and the general public to Trump’s removal of the US from the Paris Climate Change deal is encouraging. Looking at it in a positive light, it has taken the negative influence out of the picture and lets those who really believe and are truly passionate about protecting our Earth for future generations, get on with the real work that needs to be done. The worldwide response to this decision has shown that there are many many more people in the world who care about our planet than those who don’t. Trump and his supporters are in a minority when it comes to their beliefs on climate change and this is one battle they won’t win.

Dominating the headlines in media outlets worldwide, President Trump’s decision has strengthened the resolve of those already fighting climate change, while also bringing the issue to a wider audience who have not yet been engaged by it. A great sense of unity has also started to emerge between other countries and the worldwide community. In a study by Carbon Brief, where they collated a diverse range of reaction from across the world, it showed that the mass majority of people condemned the decision and are determined to continue the fight against climate change.

Organisations such as the USGBC have already pledged their commitment to continue in their efforts, saying “Although the pullout of the U.S. government from the Paris Agreement will be felt across the world, the surge of climate commitments and actions by the private sector, nongovernmental organizations, governments, cities and states will only serve to strengthen the green building movement and keep pushing us forward.”

The World Green Building Council also issued strong words, saying “Despite the withdrawal of the US from this global pact, WorldGBC is confident that our member US Green Building Council, committed US city Mayors – members of the C40 and US Conference of Mayors – Governors of States, and CEOs of major companies like Apple and IBM, will continue working tirelessly to meet the US targets set by the Paris Agreement. The global market transformation towards decarbonisation – in buildings and other sectors – is already happening. It is accelerating. And it is unstoppable.”

Responses from world leaders, business leaders and climate activists across the globe also add to this strong sense of unity…

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that the withdrawal is ‘bad for the environment, bad for the economy and it puts out children’s future at risk’ “Stopping climate change is something we can only do as a global community, and we have to act together before it’s too late”.

Google’s Sundar Pichai, wrote on Twitter that he is “disappointed” and that “Google will keep working hard for a cleaner, more prosperous future for all.”

Many US city mayors have said they will abide by climate commitments regardless of the White House U-turn. This was echoed by municipal leaders overseas.

The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, who chairs a group of 40 major cities, said: “No matter what decision is made by the White House, cities are honouring their responsibilities to implement the Paris agreement. There is no alternative for the future of our planet.”

“Climate change is real,” tweeted Jeff Immelt, chief executive of GE. “Industry must now lead and not depend on government.”

Today the Guardian reported that, “China and California have signed an agreement to work together on reducing emissions, as the state’s governor warned that “disaster still looms” without urgent action on climate change.

The governor of California, Jerry Brown, spoke to reporters at an international clean energy conference in Beijing about Donald Trump’s decision to pull the US out of the Paris agreement, saying it would ultimately prove to be only a temporary setback.”

We recently ran a campaign for Earth Day to raise awareness of the impact that buildings have on the environment. The fact that buildings are responsible for 40% of the world’s carbon emissions is staggering, and we know, as an industry, we need to work together to dramatically reduce this number. In a short video message, our founder and CEO Don McLean emphasises the importance of working to make earth day every day. This message has never been as important as it is now.

We’re standing alongside organisations such as the USGBC and all others acting against climate change, who know that climate change is an absolute fact and if we don’t stand together now and take action, our planet will not be a place where future generations can survive.  We’re asking you to join us.

“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much”
Helen Keller

+3.8°C in Brussels by 2080!

Posted: September 15, 2016 by , Category:Climate Change

Brussels Weather Prediction
This morning, a client called me and asked for some help. He needed to generate future weather files for a BREEAM certified project in Brussels (necessary for HEA04 – Thermal Comfort credit). I was happy to lend a hand!

The methodology is to use the climate change world weather file generator named CCWorldWeatherGen. It uses Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Third Assessment Report model summary data of the HadCM3 A2 experiment ensemble and is based on the so-called ‘morphing’ methodology for climate change transformation of weather data, which was developed by Belcher, Hacker and Powell. From a present weather file (BrusselsIWEC), future weather predictions can be generated for the horizons of 2020, 2050 and 2080.

Weather File Slection

I was astonished by the magnitude of the climate change in this case. The mean dry bulb temperature is predicted to raise from 10.2°C (present) to 11.2°C by 2020, 12.3°C by 2050 and up to 14.0°C by 2080! This represents a +3.8°C elevation, much higher than the average +1.5°C under which the world’s nations committed to the COP21 in December 2015.

Another key point was the maximum temperature that rose from 34.9°C to 43.8°C and the percentage of the time the temperature was above 26°C rose from 1.1% to 5.5%. This means a drastic change in building management in terms of heating/cooling and comfort.

Just a few weeks ago, NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) declared July 2016 as the hottest month on record in 136 years. So we are seeing first-hand the increase in temperature and my climate analysis for Brussels shows just how much it is set to rise.

In these conditions, how will our existing buildings behave? Should all our buildings now be designed to anticipate these forecasts? I hope the scenario is overly pessimistic but I think we need to prepare for the worst case scenario.

IESVE for Architects – Site Analysis

Posted: October 25, 2013 by , Category:Architects

Site-Analysis

In the last IESVE for Architects blog post we looked at getting started with the free 30 day trial of the package. You should now have access to the software and are starting to find your way about.

This brings us on to our next post, site analysis…

Did you know within IESVE for Architects it is uniquely possible to get specific site understanding and pre-design sustainability direction without having to draw a single model line?

You can interrogate the climate and determine suitable bio-climatic architectural strategies just by setting the location and choosing a weather file, aiding the establishment of performance goals and energy efficient benchmarks such as for the building envelope, thermal comfort, visual comfort, daylight penetration and view.

Weather File Choice
The VE uses an hourly weather data file that you can select to drive its simulations. It is important you use data from a site close to and similar to yours so that the assumed impact of the sun, wind and rain etc. on your building is a close match.

Check out our Trial Support Guide for instructions on setting location and selecting weather files, and adding additional files from other sources.

Climate Consideration
Climate data can be assessed before any building has been designed. Using the VE-Gaia Navigator, Climate metrics can be analysed at a very early stage, enabling you to:
•    Interrogate local climate – current & future
•    Understand ASHRAE/Koeppen-Geiger climate classification
•    Review Diurnal swing
•    Undertake Mahoney comfort stress analysis
•    Summarise relevant metrics related to climate
•    Understand buildings and design responses to climate metrics
•    Report on temperature, moisture/humidity, wind, precipitation, solar energy

The Support Guide shows you how to select and analyse climate metrics, climate index and climate change.

Bio-Climatic Direction
Bioclimatic Analysis is using an understanding of climate to inform building design strategy, and also a reasoned understanding of traditional or vernacular architecture.

Use the IESVE architects package to create bioclimatic reports that detail design priorities; micro-climate; urban street pattern; urban pattern; building macro form; building micro form. There are a number of suggestions given in relation to the building form; construction; window/openings;  shading/protection; ventilation; passive technology; active technology and HVAC details.

So now we’ve covered getting started with the package and site analysis. Stay tuned for our next post, when we’ll look at creating geometry.

Conference recap – Building Simulation 2011

Posted: November 23, 2011 by , Category:events

Last week, we headed to the land down under for the 12th International Conference of the International Building Performance Simulation Association (IBPSA). From November 14th to 16th in Sydney, Australia, simulation researchers, mechanical designers, government legislators and more came together with the local simulation user community for Building Simulation 2011, co-hosted by IBPSA Australasia and the Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air-conditioning and Heating (AIRAH).

At the conference, we showcased and provided live software demos of VE-Pro, our suite of building performance simulation tools, and VE-Gaia, our architectural analysis tool. Our experts also had the opportunity to present a couple of research papers, one of which involved a case study of the William McCormack Place Stage 2 building, a government office building in Cairns, North Queensland. This paper explored key strategies used in the HVAC systems and discussed the thermal and CFD modeling involved during the earliest stages of the building design to optimize the building’s environmental performance.

The second paper we presented described two new indices to assess and benchmark building energy performance — the Climate Energy Index (CEI) and the Building Energy Index (BEI). In a nutshell, these globally-applicable energy indices were developed as a means of quantifying the climate impact on building energy performance, and distinguishing climate-related and climate-unrelated energy end uses. Our paper specifically described the derivation of the indices calculation methods, and presented some case study results based on two types of building models.

Overall, our team had a great time at the show meeting with others involved in the building performance simulation field. Regarding the papers we presented, they will be available on our website shortly — stay tuned!

Can your building do this?

Posted: September 6, 2011 by , Category:Environment, Sustainability

What’s the equivalent of a Prius when it comes to green buildings? Well, the answer might be The Bullitt Center in Seattle, Washington. It just broke ground last week, and aims to be the first commercial building designed to carry its own environmental weight.

What does that mean — “carry its own environmental weight”?

It means that this building is taking sustainable design to the next level. This building is designed to produce as much energy as it consumes. To provide its own water, its own sewage. If you want to drive to work, you’ll have to find an alternate parking lot. Parking at The Bullitt Center will be reserved for bikes only.

You might be scratching your head and thinking this is crazy. But this is what sustainable design is all about!

Denis Hayes, president and CEO of the Bullitt Foundation, was quoted in a Seattle Times feature about the project, saying this is what we should have been doing 5, 10 years ago.

Conventional office buildings are getting greener, Hayes acknowledges. Many developers are designing their projects with green features to qualify for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, then marketing that label prominently.

But change isn’t happening fast enough to respond to climate change and other looming environmental problems, he said: “If the world had three or four centuries to address these challenges, we would be right on track.”

So what does this mean for our industry? This will force programs like LEED to take it to the next level, and for architects and designers to really incorporate sustainable design techniques into projects.

Building owners are going to be asking for these features in their buildings. And it’s possible, we just need to keep at it.

A few weeks back, the Boston Chapter of the International Building Performance Simulation Association (IBPSA) held a speaker session to investigate the topic of weather and building simulation. This seminar was Part 2 of the IBPSA’s “Big Uglies”. The “Big Uglies” represent four of the major unknowns in energy modelling: Occupancy, Plug Loads, Weather and Infiltration.

The group discussion was designed to tackle the impact of weather on building simulation and covered the following topics — “options for obtaining weather files for building simulation, the affects of weather on simulation results, future weather files, and related practices”.

This event caught my eye as climate and its impact on performance analysis has been on the IES agenda for a while now. Richard Quincey, Technical Director at IES explains, “To be truly sustainable, a building needs to last in excess of 100 years, and current design regulations and sustainability rating systems only require you to design against weather data that represents at best the next decade or so. Sustainable designs really need to make some assessment of the impact of climate change on determining built form suitability for the long term.”

With climate change becoming a global reality, why risk the long term performance of your building by ignoring it? A building may perform well today but it may not be able to adapt with the impact of future adverse weather conditions.

In January we teamed up with the University of Exeter to assist with their Prometheus Weather Files project. The weather files are available in .epw format for 35 locations around the UK for the 2030s, 2050s and 2080s across both high and medium emissions scenarios. The files are fully compatible with the IESVE allowing designers, architects and engineers to future weather-proof buildings and undertake comparisons between performance today and in future decades. The files are free and can be downloaded from our website.

Richard Quincey (IES) and Dr. Tristan Kershaw of the University of Exeter presented the project at this year’s Ecobuild. Highlights from the session are

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available in the video below.

The United States Conference of Mayors recent Clean Energy Solutions for America’s Cities report is a summary of survey results. The U.S. Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are more than 1,200 such cities in the country today, each represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the Mayor.

I’ll admit, I was a bit worried to dive into the report, with visions of a glum outlook and details that reflect why this cities are not sustainable.

But I’d say things are looking pretty good!

If you want to read the entire report, you can download it here.

But the key findings sum things up quite well.

  • Despite challenging economic conditions, three in four cities (75%) expect their deployment of clean energy technologies to increase over the next five years.
  • Cities identify financial constraints as the most significant challenge to improving energy efficiency and conservation, and developing new renewable energy supplies.
  • LED and other efficient lighting (76%), low-energy building technologies (68%), and solar systems to generate electricity (46%) are the top three choices among mayors as the most promising technologies for reducing energy use and carbon emissions.
  • Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants (EECBG) are shown to have multiple benefits for cities, from helping to cope with higher gas prices to deploying new energy technologies and efficiency measures, now and in the future.
  • Mayors point to the economic benefits of clean energy solutions as key drivers of their energy strategies.
  • For one in three cities, adapting to climate change is already an element of their capital planning and/or capital improvement programs.
  • One-quarter of all cities have already set targets for the use of renewable energy.

What do you think? Are our major cities on a path to a sustainable future? How can we ensure we get there? I certainly think implementing “smart” solutions within commercial buildings is a fool-proof way to ensure energy hogs such as lights and HVAC systems are kept in check, without the need for extra manpower (and extra expenses) to keep tabs during peak demand times throughout the day. But that’s just a small piece of the puzzle. There’s so much more we can do in the world of sustainable design, and we are just scratching the surface

My hope is to view this report 5, 10 years from now and see an even greater move towards sustainability.

How will you spend 10/10/10?

Posted: October 8, 2010 by , Category:Sustainability, Uncategorized

There’s just 2 days to go until approx 7,000 events across 200 countries get underway as part of www.350.org‘s 10/10/10 Global Work Party for action on energy efficiency and climate change. It looks to be the biggest day of positive action on climate change in history so, what will you be doing?

Here at IES we’re supporting 10/10/10 by hosting a series of events including:

  • Switch off stickers
  • Sourcing even more ethical suppliers
  • Thermostat settings on radiators
  • To urn or not to urn!!
  • Water waste awareness
  • Supplier check up — utilities, shredding etc.
  • Composting feasibility
  • IT ideas
  • Setting up electricity / energy monitoring

There are some fantastic events happening all over the world and I wanted to share some of the highlights with you:

  • Sumo wrestlers cycling to practice in downtown Tokyo.
  • An education center in the Namib Desert in Namibia installing six solar panels.
  • Divers on the smallest island nation of the world, Nauru (8.1 square miles) will plunge into their coral reefs for an underwater clean-up.
  • President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives is installing solar panels on his roof.
  • Partiers in Edinburgh will be throwing a “Joycott” (a reverse boycott) at a local bar that agreed to put 20% of its extra revenues on 10/10/10 to
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    making the bar more energy efficient. Attendees will try and drink as much as possible to raise money. Cheers!

  • In San Pedro Garza Garcia, Mexico, students will hand out solar-powered lights to families, who are still recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Alex this June, 2010.
  • Over 100 cyclists from Jordan, Israel and Palestine taking part in a 3-day bicycle relay to carry water from the Yarmouk River and the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea to symbolize the need for cooperation to stop climate change and save precious water resources.
  • On 10/10/10 the Mayor of Mexico City will sign a commitment to reduce the city’s emissions 10% in a single year. The city government will be directly responsible for 5% of the reductions and lead a public campaign to get citizens to cut the remaining 5%.
  • Young people in Barbados will be demonstrating the viability of fuel cell technology in a hovercraft they have built themselves.

I must say the “Joycott” in Edinburgh is my personal favourite!

Fancy being a part of it? You can Find a local event near you to see what weird and wonderful events are being held in your neighbourhood. Plus, there’s still time to register your own event so why not join in and celebrate climate change solutions? You can register your event at http://www.350.org/oct10 and if you’re looking for inspiration why not check out the 350 Action Gallery showing some amazing examples of actions that have happened already from all across the globe.

We’ll post a Blog (with photos of course!) of our very own 10.10.10 events very soon!

Clima 2010 – The 10th REHVA World Congress

Posted: September 10, 2010 by , Category:Environment, events

Earlier this year, I attended & was proud to present at The 10th REHVA World Congress — Clima 2010 in Antalya, Turkey. There were over 1,000 attendees from 56 countries at the HVAC congress. Attendees included two former ASHRAE presidents, one former CIBSE president – OBE, the current IBPSA president and the chairman of CIBSE Guide– A Steering Committee. There were 460 papers presented orally & 180 posters took place. Needless to say it was a huge success.

If you are unaware, REHVA is the Federation of European HVAC Associations and represents over 100,000 engineers from 28 European countries.

A feature of the biannual REHVA World Congress is the International student competition. Having graduated with my MSc. from Brunel University in 2009, I was asked to enter the competition. The European association I was representing was CIBSE, which I know is not specific to any one European country, but a collective nomination from the UK & Ireland nevertheless.

Apart from commending the success of the event, I wanted to blog about a fascinating project of the student competition, by Geert Filippini of Royal Haskoning in The Netherlands. Geert went on to win the competition, and deservedly so. Geert’s research work on a low energy micro-climate was very impressive. I’ve attached an image below of his built prototype which was tested in a climate chamber in the Eindhoven University of Technology.

The fresh air is being supplied directly into the microclimate of the occupant so the he/she is given a psychological feeling of being in control of his/her own environment. The radiant panel is a low energy feature (14% less energy), again because the local heating & cooling is taking place in the occupant’s working environment. A very clever idea!

I’ve analysed the concept using <VE> — MicroFlo for a typical day and the CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) analyses does also seem to certainly prove the concept.�
Please see the latest edition of the REHVA Journal & I hope to see you at the next annual conference In Tallinn in May 2011.

Liam

To be truly sustainable, a building needs to last in excess of 100 years, and current design regulations and sustainability rating systems only require you to design against weather data that represents at best the next decade or so. Sustainable designs really need to make some assessment of the impact of climate change on determining built form suitability for the long term.

Therefore, I thought I’d take this opportunity to expand on my recent Weather Design and Data blog.

IES cannot tell you what is going to happen, however there is huge consensus around a 3oC global warming target as you will have no doubt heard. What does this mean to building design? It seems reasonable to assume investors and insurers will consider this target and what it might mean for buildings in the future.

Let us take the CIBSE published UK weather predictions for a medium-high climate change scenario, which represents about a 3oC rise, and consider London, by far not the worst location in climate change terms, over the next 70 years.

Just glancing at the headline information you see that:

-The summer is extending and getting hotter in the Mahoney analysis (monthly average);

-The reduction in heating degree days -31% from now to 2080;

-The growth in cooling degree days + 65% from now to 2080;

-The climate classification shift — mixed humid to warm marine;

-How built form design focus shifts to be dominated by summer issues.

Just from this brief overview you can start to see how selecting and comparing weather data, especially climate change impacts, can allow you to assess fundamental built form suitability and its ability to adapt to climate change over the long term.

For locations outside of the UK this analysis is possible using morphed data from any epw weather file; a free tool allows you morph climate change scenarios worldwide.

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