IPCC Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007
Climate Change 2007: Working Group III: Mitigation of Climate Change

6.4.4 Cooling and cooling loads

Cooling energy can be reduced by: 1) reducing the cooling load on a building, 2) using passive techniques to meet some or all of the load, and 3) improving the efficiency of cooling equipment and thermal distribution systems. Reducing the cooling load

Reducing the cooling load depends on the building shape and orientation, the choice of building materials and a whole host of other decisions that are made in the early design stage by the architect and are highly sensitive to climate. In general, recently constructed buildings are no longer adapted to prevailing climate; the same building forms and designs are now seen in Stockholm, New York, Houston, Hong Kong, Singapore and Kuwait. However, the principles of design to reduce cooling load for any climate are well known. In most climates, they include: (i) orienting a building to minimize the wall area facing east or west; (ii) clustering buildings to provide some degree of self shading (as in many traditional communities in hot climates); (iii) using high-reflectivity building materials; (iv) increasing insulation; (v) providing fixed or adjustable shading; (vi) using selective glazing on windows with a low solar heat gain and a high daylight transmission factor and avoiding excessive window area (particularly on east- and west-facing walls); and (vii) utilizing thermal mass to minimize daytime interior temperature peaks. As well, internal heat loads from appliances and lighting can be reduced through the use of efficient equipment and controls.

Increasing the solar reflectivity of roofs and horizontal or near-horizontal surfaces around buildings and planting shade trees can yield dramatic energy savings. The benefits of trees arise both from direct shading and from cooling the ambient air. Rosenfeld et al. (1998) computed that a very large-scale, city-wide program of increasing roof and road albedo and planting trees in Los Angeles could yield a total savings in residential cooling energy of 50–60%, with a 24–33% reduction in peak air conditioning loads.