Towards decarbonisation targets by changing setpoint temperature to avoid building overcooling and implementing district cooling in (sub)tropical high-density cities – A case study of Hong Kong
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AbstractClimate warming, rapid economic development, and urbanisation in (sub)tropical regions lead to increasing electricity demand for building air-conditioning that could jeopardise the efforts of decarbonisation required to meet the climate change mitigation goals. This study investigates two strategies to reduce building energy consumption due to air-conditioning: 1) the bottom-up adoption of an Adaptive Thermal Comfort (ATC)-based cooling setpoint temperature and 2) the top-down implementation of efficient District Cooling Systems (DCS). The subtropical high-density city of Hong Kong is chosen for case study since detailed data on the city's current and realistic future urban form and function are available. Numerical simulations representing the feedback between urban climate and building energy consumption are conducted by employing a mesoscale atmospheric model coupled to an urban climate and building energy model for a scenario of future (mid-21st century) Hong Kong. A prolonged high temperature event representative of future extreme conditions is simulated, during which the ATC and DCS strategies reduce building cooling energy consumption by 9.7% and 5.9%, respectively. The ATC has almost no effect on the local meteorological conditions, whereas the DCS reduces daytime sensible heat flux by up to 600 W/m2 and near-surface air temperature by almost 1 °C in the districts where it is adopted. The DCS thus also contributes to lowering outdoor heat stress in these areas. The cost-free ATC strategy is easily applicable in residential buildings worldwide and can break the vicious cycle in overcooled buildings, where occupants are acclimatised to lower indoor temperature and thus require more air-conditioning than necessary. Apart from reducing energy consumption and near-surface air temperature, the DCS brings additional benefits in building space utilisation and rooftop design. Future policy orientations should therefore encourage a societal change towards the ATC lifestyle and incorporate DCS in the planning of new development areas.
Acceptance Date07/12/2021
All Author(s) ListYu Ting Kwok, Robert Schoetter, Edward Ng
Journal nameScience of the Total Environment
Volume Number811
Article number152338
LanguagesEnglish-United Kingdom
KeywordsBuilding energy consumption, Air-conditioning practice, Adaptive thermal comfort, District cooling system, Decarbonisation, Urban microclimate

Last updated on 2024-09-04 at 00:32