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August 5, 2021

Hotter, Hotter: Impacts and Solutions for HVAC Systems Under Climate Change

Climate Change has and will continue to result in increased air temperature and consequently, higher HVAC operating costs. Large commercial and institutional facilities are spending more to cool buildings, and this can impact the financial bottom-line in the order of USD100,000 to millions each year.

A regional airport, for example, spends upwards of USD3 million annually on energy costs, which represents more than 10 per cent of its annual operating expenditure. Temperatures are expected to increase by 1.3˚ C by 2050, and this will impact the current operating costs from large north and south facing windows that have large solar heat gain. CEAC Solutions’ investigations have indicated that fixed external louvre shading would reduce heat gain and has a high financial rate of return.

Energy bills quickly show a correlation between higher air temperature in summer months versus cooler months. Using the CEAC Solutions-designed Ferry BPO facility as a model, CEAC applied the Cooling Load Temperature Difference, Load Factor and Solar Cooling Load Factor Method to an RCP 8.5 of 1.3C increase to investigate present and future climate conditions with and without solar shading to meet a building temperature of 22ᣞC 24-hours per day. Solar shades reduce heat gains by 15 to 20 per cent in the present and future climate and also add

resilience to the facility’s large windows from object strikes from hurricane winds. Financial analysis of CAPEX of USD0.8 and annual savings suggest a 53per cent rate of return and payback time of three years.

Reducing heat gains can make HVAC systems more climate resilient and financially viable. CEAC has used solar shading and thermal claddings with low heat gains as options to mitigate the hotter climate ahead and reap financial benefits.

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