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Non-domestic buildings air conditioning study released

27 July 2016

A report on electricity usage by air conditioning systems in UK offices and retail environments has been published by BRE.

The two-year study was commissioned by the former Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), now part of the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

It was led by BRE principal consultant Dr Andy Lewry and included analysis of existing cooling demand and electrical consumption data, including assessment of air conditioning inspection reports and energy performance certificates.

It also reviewed literature on trends in air conditioning usage and the possible future impacts of new technology, said BRE.

The findings include details such as:
Cooling in air conditioning systems may account for around 1/10th of total UK electricity consumption;
Heat waves are becoming more frequent around the UK;
In 20212, around 65% of UK office space and 30% of UK retail space was air-conditioned;
An estimated 40k/Wh/m2 is used in cooling offices in the UK every year;
Air conditioning systems are frequently operated when buildings are unoccupied.

A dissemination plan has also been created by BRE, aimed at air conditioning designers, building managers and smart system designers.

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