A comparison of structural and behavioural adaptations to future proofing buildings against higher temperatures

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The uncertainty surrounding projections of climate change has left the building design community in a quandary. Should they assume a worst case scenario, and recommend adaptations to designs that might prove to be unnecessary and quite possibly costly? Or should they increase the risk to the occupants by selecting a less pessimistic vision of the future? It is well known that structural adaptations, such as additional thermal mass, can help moderate internal conditions as can behavioural adaptations, such as opening windows. Here the relative magnitudes of structural and non-structural (behavioural) adaptations are reflected upon, with the specific intent of discovering whether non-structural adaptations might have a great enough effect to offset any errors from selecting what proves to be (in 40 years time) an erroneous choice of climate change projection. It is found that an alteration to how a building is used is as equally important as common structural adaptations, and that the risk of choosing what turns out to be an incorrect climate change projection can be dealt with by seeing non-structural adaptations as a way of nullifying this risk.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-166
Number of pages8
JournalBuilding and Environment
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2012


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