Best Practice Insights

Space Cooling

Why discuss space cooling?

By understanding why increasing energy consumption for space cooling is a growing concern, we can properly develop effective policies and deliver efficient technologies.

The five main reasons space cooling demand is on the rise include:

  1. Wealth and comfort: An increasing desire for, and ability to afford, the thermal comfort provided by air conditioning.
  2. Population growth: Rising populations in countries with warmer climates and population shifts within countries from colder to warmer regions.
  3. Climate and temperature: Higher average temperatures and greater frequency of extreme temperatures due to local heat-island effects and climate change.
  4. Design and construction: Changes in building design and a shift from heavy materials such as stone or brick to materials with less thermal mass such as wood or composites.
  5. Electronic devices and appliances: An increasing quantity of personal electronic devices, appliances and office equipment in buildings that generate heat as a by-product.

What are the opportunities?

Broadly there are two key space cooling opportunitities:

  1. Increasing cooling thermal comfort.
  2. Reducing the energy used to provide that cooling.

While many discussions start with the goal of reducing the energy used for cooling, long-term benefits can also be achieved by increasing cooling thermal comfort while reducing the need for space cooling. Both opportunities enable multiple benefits: lower energy bills, fewer electricity capacity constraints and less use of climate-warming refrigerants.

What are the recommendations?

Key areas for energy efficiency policy are:

  1. Cooling equipment (minimum energy performance standards).
  2. Thermal efficiency of building and heat gains.

Key technologies are insultation, shading, windows and efficient air conditioners.

The choice of energy efficiency policies and technologies to address space cooling demand should be made using life-cycle calculations that account for the multiple benefits of energy efficiency. Policies and technologies should enable greater increased thermal comfort while reducing the total energy consumed.