Simple future weather files for estimating heating and cooling demand

Rimante Andrasiunaite Cox, Martin Drews, Carsten Rode, Susanne Balslev Nielsen

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Estimations of the future energy consumption of buildings are becoming increasingly important as a basis for energy management, energy renovation, investment planning, and for determining the feasibility of technologies and designs. Future weather scenarios, where the outdoor climate is usually represented by future weather files, are needed for estimating the future energy consumption. In many cases, however, the practitioner’s ability to conveniently provide an estimate of the future energy consumption is hindered by the lack of easily available future weather files. This is, in part, due to the difficulties associated with generating high temporal resolution (hourly) estimates of future changes in air temperature. To address this issue, we investigate if, in the absence of high-resolution data, a weather file constructed from a coarse (annual) estimate of future air temperature change can provide useful estimates of future energy demand of a building. Experimental results based on both the degree-day
method and dynamic simulations suggest that this is indeed the case. Specifically, heating demand estimates were found to be within a few per cent of one another, while estimates of cooling demand were
slightly more varied. This variation was primarily due to the very few hours of cooling that were required in the region examined. Errors were found to be most likely when the air temperatures were close to the heating or cooling balance points, where the energy demand was modest and even relatively large errors might thus result in only modest absolute errors in energy demand.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBuilding and Environment
Pages (from-to)104-114
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Future weather files
  • Heating cooling demand
  • Future energy demand
  • Building simulation and degree day method

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