Resilient cooling of buildings to protect against heat waves and power outages: Key concepts and definition

Shady Attia*, Ronnen Levinson, Eileen Ndongo, Peter Holzer, Ongun Berk Kazanci, Shabnam Homaei, Chen Zhang, Bjarne W. Olesen, Dahai Qi, Mohamed Hamdy, Per Heiselberg

*Corresponding author for this work

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    The concept of climate resilience has gained extensive international attention during the last few years and is now seen as the future target for building cooling design. However, before being fully implemented in building design, the concept requires a clear and consistent definition and a commonly agreed framework of key concepts. The most critical issues that should be given special attention before developing a new definition for resilient cooling of buildings are (1) the disruptions or the associated climatic shocks to protect against, (2) the scale of the built domain, (3) the timeline of resilience, (4) the events of disruption, (5) the stages of resilience, (6) the indoor climate limits and critical comfort conditions, and (7) the influencing factors of resilient cooling of buildings. This paper focuses on a scoping review of the most of the existing resilience definitions and the various approaches, found in 90 documents, towards possible resilient buildings. In conclusion, the paper suggests a definition and a set of criteria —vulnerability, resistance, robustness, and recoverability— that can help to develop intrinsic performance-driven indicators and functions of passive and active cooling solutions in buildings against two disruptors of indoor thermal environmental quality—heat waves and power outages.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number110869
    JournalEnergy and Buildings
    Publication statusPublished - 2021

    Bibliographical note

    We would also like to express our gratitude to all experts for sharing their pearls of wisdom with us during this research. We thank the interviewed RELi steering committee members and UN resilience experts. Also, we wish to extend our thanks to our colleagues from IEA-EBC Annex 80 , who provided insight and expertise that greatly assisted in selecting resilient criteria during the focus group discussion.
    This research was partially funded by the Walloon Region under the call “Actions de Recherche Concertées 2019 (ARC)” and the project OCCuPANt, on the Impacts Of Climate Change on the indoor environmental and energy PerformAnce of buildiNgs in Belgium during summer. The authors would like to gratefully acknowledge the Walloon Region and Liege University for funding.

    Finally, we would like to acknowledge the Sustainable Building Design Lab for using data processing software in this research and the valuable support during the interviews and the content analysis of data.


    • Climate change
    • Cooling technologies
    • Overheating
    • Recovery
    • Resilience
    • Resistance
    • Robustness
    • Thermal comfort


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