Air-conditioning to increase by two-thirds by 2030
The International Energy Agency (IEA) has said that cooling energy demand has more than tripled since 1990 to 8.5% of total final global electricity consumption “making it the fast-growing end use in buildings”.
In addition, it is estimated that there are two billion air-conditioning units in operation around the world, a figure that is expected to increase by another two-thirds by 2030 as more people in emerging economies invest in keeping cool.
This growth, in turn, is leading to the emergence of fuel poverty where an estimated 1.1 billion people are unable to afford access to cooling.
The health risks of heatwaves are well documented particularly among the elderly or those with pre-existing medical problems so it is vital that there is a focus on human thermal comfort. In one UK report it was estimated that up to 20% of homes in the country caused overheating for occupants with the annual average of 2,000 heat-related deaths a year projected to rise to 7,000 by 2050 as a result of climate change, increased urbanisation and an ageing population.
Making buildings climate resilient
So, what is the solution? How to achieve thermal comfort in buildings? We need to make our buildings climate resilient and more energy efficient, improve the building envelope, understand how to maximise thermal comfort in buildings, focus on the temperature-lowering potential of a holistic approach to buildings and we need to relentlessly campaign for energy saving policies that help us all cool down. Energy Efficiency is one of Knauf Insulation’s expertise.
“As a first measure to reduce the amount of energy needed for space cooling, proper building design can improve thermal insulation and reduce air leakage by incorporating advanced building envelope components,” says the IEA.
To be in line with UN Sustainable Development Goals all countries need to establish mandatory building energy codes. Unfortunately, almost two-thirds of countries lacked these codes in 2019 “meaning more than five billion square metres were built without mandatory performance requirements”, says the IEA.
Improving the building envelope, focusing on thermal comfort in buildings, campaigning for environmentally responsible building performance regulation and making buildings more climate resilient is at the heart of everything Knauf Insulation does. Our solutions, which range from Rock Mineral Wool and Glass Mineral Wool to Blowing Wool and our Urbanscape Green Roof and Wall solutions are particularly effective at cooling buildings.