Climate change and future energy consumption in UK housing stock

Lisa Collins, Sukumar Natarajan, Geoff Levermore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Citations (SciVal)


This paper examines the likely effects on gas and electricity consumption and carbon emissions from heating and cooling systems in existing dwellings up to 2080, assuming a widespread uptake of cooling systems. This area of research is highly sensitive to the myriad of possible inputs and thus holds a wide range of predicted outcomes. However, general trends have been found, showing significant sensitivity to ventilation rate, U-values, occupant behaviour and location. Heating demand will still be dominant over cooling demand in UK dwellings by the 2080s, based on an UKCIP02 A1F1 weather scenario. A national worst case scenario for the 2050s, shows a 10 megatonne CO2 emissions saving on present levels largely due to a 20% reduction in gas consumption.Practical applications: The balance of heating and cooling demand causes more modest changes in CO2 than first anticipated. Despite first perceptions of future energy use in housing and climate change, heating appears to remain the major load rather than cooling, even into the 2080s. These predictions of future CO2 emissions will be useful to those in the building industry planning appropriate proportionate climate adaptation and climate mitigation measures. Also, the prediction of changes to future energy demands from the housing sector will be of interest to energy providers considering future demands for heating and cooling and may feed into larger bottom-up energy models.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-90
Number of pages16
JournalBuilding Services Engineering Research and Technology
Issue number1
Early online date19 Jan 2010
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2010


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