Following the recent IEA report on the potential effects of the growing demand for cooling (see previous News post) Birmingham University have published a report entitled “A Cool World – Defining the Energy Conundrum of Cooling for All” (see https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/news/latest/2018/07/Global-quadrupling-cooling-appliances-14-billion-increase-energy-consumption.aspx). This report raises the prospect that the cooling sector will, on current trajectory, increase its overall energy consumption by 90% by 2050 to ~7,500TWh annually compared with 2018 levels (3,900TWh); and potentially to 9,500TWh if we do not achieve the hoped for aggressive energy efficiency improvements. However, under these projections much of the world would still only have low penetration levels of cooling: including air conditioning, refrigeration and cold chain. We will still have high levels of food loss; a significant percentage of the world’s population in the hottest regions of the world without space cooling, and medicines and vaccines spoiled in the supply chain. The report asks whether the world can meet these challenges with existing technologies/methodologies or whether a completely new approach is required.
In a separate report from the UK Government’s Environmental Audit Committee (see https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmenvaud/826/826.pdf), entitled “Heatwaves: adapting to climate change” the problems associated with overheating in the UK’s built environment are highlighted. It states that “The current lack of regulation to prevent overheating, means that new developments, including hospitals and care homes, which will be around for the next 70 years will add to the number of buildings that overheat” (including currently one in five UK homes). Furthermore “there remains no standard or regulation to prevent overheating in new buildings, other than a requirement to make ‘reasonable provision’ to limit heat gains for the purposes of fuel conservation. Thermal comfort is not addressed anywhere in the building regulations.”