Weather files help design buildings of the future

Predictions of typical weather we can expect in the future are helping builders to future-proof their designs thanks to a partnership between the University of Exeter and a software developer, Integrated Environmental Solutions (IES).

Experts at the university have, through the Prometheus Weather Files project, produced future weather predictions for 35 locations around the UK for the 2030s, 50s, and 80s for both high and medium greenhouse gas emissions scenarios.

These files, which hold no copyright and are freely available to the public, are available directly to building companies through a partnership with IES – who provide integrated performance analysis software and consulting services for sustainable building design.

The files can be downloaded from the IES website (www.iesve.com) or the Prometheus website (http://www.exeter.ac.uk/cee/prometheus) in a format which allows designers, architects and engineers to future weather-proof buildings and undertake comparisons between performance today and in future decades.

This is the first time comprehensive future weather files which include a realistic representation of wind speed and direction have been freely available. They were created using output from the http://www.ukcip.org.uk/ukcp09/.

Richard Quincey, Technical Director at IES, said analytical tools such as this meet a vital need, providing data for future years so that industry professionals can investigate the impact of climate change on particular designs.

He said: “To be truly sustainable, a building needs to last in excess of 100 years, and current design regulations and sustainability rating systems only require you to design against weather data that represents at best the next decade or so. Sustainable designs really need to make some assessment of the impact of climate change on determining built form suitability for the long term.”

Dr Tristan Kershaw of the University of Exeter said: “The 14,800 heat-related deaths in Paris in 2003 were in part due to the failure of buildings to modify the external environment. It has been estimated that, by the 2040’s, a 2003-type summer will be the norm in Europe.

“Our files are compatible with common building simulation software so, for the first time, architects and buildings engineers can easily adapt their designs to the effects of climate change.”

As part of this new relationship both Mr Quincey and Dr Kershaw are giving a joint presentation at the Ecobuild event this week in London on the topic of using future weather files to adapt buildings to climate change.

Dr Kershaw added: “It is important that both architects and buildings engineers are aware of the impacts of climate change and are aware of the tools available to assist them when making adaptation choices. Presenting alongside IES at Ecobuild will help raise awareness and help people design buildings that will be fit for purpose both now and in the future.”

To download the files visit the IES website at www.iesve.com

There are currently no comments for this article.

Login to comment. slider