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Energy use sustainability in school buildings

Objectives: Climate risk consultancy Acclimatise developed this mock case study (using dummy data) to determine how many times in the future a known threshold might be crossed to ensure energy use sustainability in a school and perform a cost-benefit analysis on adaptation measures. The school is new-build so if operation of the school requires more energy than specified in the building contract then the contracting developer is held accountable.

How they used UKCP09 dummy data

1. It is known that a persistently warm minimum temperature (exceeding 16°C for three nights in a row) makes the building uncomfortably warm during the day.

2. This was used as a threshold for analysis and was defined, in this case, as a heatwave. This is a user-defined heatwave and not the same as the pre-defined heatwave in the Threshold Detector.

3. By analysing the Weather Generator output with the Threshold Detector, an increase in frequency in comparison to the baseline climate was presented in a table showing the range of error in the Threshold Detector output and the average value, for each season (this is standard output from the Threshold Detector).

4. A number of adaptation measures were suggested to manage these climate risks.

Next steps

The Threshold Detector could be used to assess the incidence of heatwave events in future decades. This information could then be used as part of a cost-benefit analysis to compare the likely reductions in income and higher operating or energy costs against the costs of refurbishment.

This analysis could be used to make recommendations about when and how it would be most cost effective to refurbish the school. In other words, it could be used to assess the cost effectiveness of various potential adaptation measures.

Lessons learned

· The UKCP09 Weather Generator allows analysis of the probabilistic projections at a finer spatial (5 km) and (daily) scale for the UK than previously available, although it is derived using the 25 km change factors and hence provides no more detailed information than that available at a 25 km resolution.

· It also allows flexibility in the assessment of user-defined events (such as the heatwave events described in the case study above), as well as a more sophisticated analysis of uncertainty by delivering Probabilistic climate change projections.

· The increased sophistication of the UKCP09 outputs offers more information, but navigating and interpreting this new information will be challenging for users.

· The scientific complexity of the outputs will need to be communicated carefully, with appropriate guidelines, to ensure that UKCP09 can be implemented smoothly.

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