An inexorable increase in energy consumption for the cooling of buildings, and the increase in overheating of buildings is caused by urbanisation and densification, climate change, elevated comfort expectations, and inappropriate architectural design practices.
Meeting this challenge requires further development and application of low energy and low carbon cooling solutions on a large scale. In order to expedite the transition of our new-build and existing building stock to nearly zero energy building (nZEB) and nearly zero carbon building (nZCB) status we have to take immediate action.
A wide range of appropriate solutions are already available, such as cool materials, solar shading, ventilative cooling, solar and adiabatic cooling, hydronic thermal mass activation, phase change materials (PCMs), ground source heat exchangers and other natural heat sinks, heat recovery systems, etc. However, many suffer from practical and economic obstacles that keep them from mass application (e.g. lack of guaranteed Key Performance Indicators (KPI), lack of design guidelines, lack of knowledge on system integration, lack of recognition of the value of particular technologies in standards and compliance tools, regional fragmentation of suppliers/supply-chain, etc). These solutions need concerted support from the international scientific communities, knowledge transfer and quantification of the economic potential.
Other technologies are emerging, but need further technological research to reach appropriate technology readiness levels. These include: advanced glazing technologies, micro-cooling and personal comfort control, electrostatic air cleaning, combinations of comfort ventilation and ventilative cooling, high performance vapour-compression and absorption chillers.
The IEA Resilient Cooling Annex will address this multi-disciplinary challenge and boost the development and implementation of robust low-energy and low-carbon cooling solutions on a large scale by transferring knowledge, coordinating international research endeavours and promoting a variety of systems and solutions.
Our overall aim is to rapidly transition to an environment where resilient low energy and low carbon cooling systems are the mainstream and preferred solutions for cooling and overheating issues in buildings. The Annex will focus on the following specific objectives.
- To quantify the potential benefits of resilient cooling for a wide range of building typologies, climate zones, functional specification and other boundary conditions.
- To systematically assess benefits, limitations and performance indicators of resilient cooling. To identify barriers to implementation and conduct research to overcoming such barriers and facilitating implementation on a large scale. (Subtask A)
- To provide guidelines on the integration of resilient cooling systems in energy performance calculation methods and regulations. This includes specification and verification of key performance indicators. (Subtask A)
- To extend the boundaries of existing low energy and low carbon cooling solutions and their control strategies and to develop recommendations for flexible and reliable resilient cooling solutions that can create comfortable conditions under a wide range of climatic conditions (Subtask B).
- To demonstrate the performance of resilient cooling solutions through analysis and evaluation of well-documented case studies. (Subtask C)
- To analyse regulations, standards and compliance requirements and to develop recommendations for further development in regulatory context supporting the implementation of resilient cooling systems. (Subtask D)