HVAC engineers should consider climate change

A report from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers urges HVAC designers and engineers to take ongoing climate changes into account when designing new HVAC/R, and revamping existing systems.


According to a group of engineers, HVAC system designers have a responsibility to plan ahead, implementing design features that can meet the challenges created by future climate changes.

“Climate Change: Adapting to the Inevitable” --a study issued by the U.K.-based Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE)-- adopts a long-term view of construction, HVAC, transportation, energy, and other fields. The report urges engineers, architects, and city planners to consider how their structures and the surrounding environment might change 100 years or more into the future and implement design features accordingly.

For example, the report states, extreme weather events such as hurricanes and stretches of high or low temperatures will become more common, thanks to global climate shifts; in response, buildings should be designed and revamped to be as resilient to such events as possible. Additionally, peak design data used by HVAC engineers in creating new systems should be adjusted to reflect future scenarios.

The IMechE report also advises city planners to consider altering street layouts to improve buildings’ position for self-shading, cooling, and ventilation.

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