Impact of climate change heating and cooling energy use in buildings in the United States

Haojie Wang, Qingyan Chen

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

276 Citations (Scopus)


Global warming has drawn great attention in recent years because of its large impact on many aspects of the environment and human activities in buildings. One area directly affected by climate change is the energy consumption for heating and cooling. To quantify the impact, this study used the HadCM3 Global Circulation Model (GCM) to generate weather data for future typical meteorological years, such as 2020, 2050, and 2080, for 15 cities in the U.S. based on three CO2 emission scenarios. The method was validated by comparing the projected TMY3 data using HadCM3 with the actual TMY3 data. By morphing method, the weather data was downscaled to hourly data for use in building energy simulations by EnergyPlus. Two types of residential buildings and seven types of commercial buildings were simulated for each of the 15 cities. This paper is the first to systematically study the climate change impact on various types of residential and commercial buildings in all seven climate zones in the U.S. through EnergyPlus simulations and provide weighted averaged results for national-wide building stock. We also identified geographical dependency of the impact of climate change on future energy uses. There would be a net increase in source energy consumption by the 2080s for climate zones 1-4 and net decrease in climate zones 6-7 based on the HadCM3 weather projection. Furthermore, this paper investigated natural ventilation performance in San Francisco, San Diego, and Seattle with improved natural ventilation model. We found that by the 2080s passive cooling would not be suitable for San Diego because of global warming, but it would still be acceptable for San Francisco and Seattle.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)428-436
Number of pages9
JournalEnergy and Buildings
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2014


  • Building energy use
  • Climate change
  • EnergyPlus
  • Global warming
  • Natural ventilation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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