Climate Change Research ›› 2013, Vol. 9 ›› Issue (1): 43-48.doi: 10.3969/j.issn.1673-1719.2013.01.007

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Applicability Evaluation of Cooling/Heating Degree-Days in Analyzing Building Energy Consumption Changes


  • Received:2012-05-17 Revised:2012-06-21 Online:2013-01-31 Published:2013-01-31
  • Contact: Mingcai Li

Abstract: Heating and cooling degree-days have been considered to be the simplest and most reliable measures of building energy demands, but their applicability lacks comprehensive assessment. Hence, we simulated the energy consumption of different types of buildings (i.e. office buildings, department stores, and residential buildings with different energy saving levels) in Tianjin from 1961 to 2009 and analyzed its relationships with heating and cooling degree-days. The results show that the relationships between heat loads of office buildings or department stores and heating degree-days in winter reached a high significant level (P < 0.01) with a large determination coefficient (R2) of 0.99 and 0.97, respectively. However, during the hot summer period the determination coefficients (R2) for office buildings and department stores were only 0.64 and 0.55 respectively, although the cooling loads were both significantly correlated with cooling degree-days (P < 0.01). The heat loads of residential buildings with different energy saving levels were all closely correlated with heating degree-days and their determination coefficients were above 0.99. These results suggest that heating degree-days is able to reflect the characteristics of the heat loads of office buildings, department stores and residential buildings and thus can be used to study the impact of climate change on building energy consumption. By contrast, cooling degree-days is unable to entirely reflect the changes of the cooling loads of office buildings and department stores because the cooling degree-days can only explain 64% and 55% of their cooling loads, respectively. It was found from the analysis on relationships between building energy consumption and its relevant climatic factors that the energy consumption in the heating period was dominantly affected by temperature while in the hot summer period it was jointly affected by both temperature and humidity.

Key words: heating degree day, cooling degree day, applicability evaluation, building energy consumption

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