Climate change is posing a variety of challenges in the built realm. Among them is the change in future energy consumption and the potential decay of current energy efficient paradigms. Indeed, today’s near-zero Energy buildings (nZEBs) may lose their virtuosity in the near future. The objective of this study is to propose a methodology to evaluate the change in yearly performance between the present situation and future scenarios. Hourly dynamic simulations are performed on a residential nZEB located in Rome, built in compliance with the Italian legislation. We compare the current energy consumption with that expected in 2050, according to the two future projections described in the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Implications for thermal comfort are further investigated by assuming no heating and cooling system, and by tracking the free-floating operative temperature. Compared to the current weather conditions, the results reveal an average temperature increase of 3.4◦ C and 3.9◦ C under RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 scenarios, estimated through ERA-Interim/UrbClim. This comes at the expense of a 47.8% and 50.3% increase in terms of cooling energy needs, and a 129.5% and 185.8% decrease in terms of heating needs. The annual power consumption experiences an 18% increase under both scenarios due to (i) protracted activation of the air conditioning system and (ii) enhanced peak power requirements. A 6.2% and 5.1% decrease in the hours of adaptive comfort is determined under the RCP4.5 and RCP8.5′ s 2050 scenarios out of the concerted action of temperature and solar gains. The results for a newly proposed combined index for long-term comfort assessments reveal a milder future penalty, owing to less pronounced excursions and milder daily temperature swings.
Impact of climate change on the energy and comfort performance of nzeb: A case study in Italy / Summa, S.; Tarabelli, L.; Ulpiani, G.; Di Perna, C.. - In: CLIMATE. - ISSN 2225-1154. - 8:11(2020), pp. 1-16. [10.3390/cli8110125]