Generating Test Reference Years from the UKCP09 Projections and their application in building energy simulations

Hu Du, Chris Underwood, Jerry Edge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


In this study, test reference year (TRY) data for three UK cities are generated from the new UKCP09 climate change projections1for a variety of future time horizons and carbon emission scenario assumptions. The data are applied to the energy simulation of three commercial buildings and one house for the three city locations (London, Manchester and Edinburgh), three future time horizons in this century and three carbon emission scenarios. Results are compared with those generated using alternative TRYs from two other research groups who used UKCP091as well as with the existing TRY data sets which form the CIBSE Future Weather Years2 in order to produce robust results. Results of future simulations of peak summer operative temperatures, peak cooling demand, annual cooling energy, peak heating demand and annual heating energy are presented for the four building case studies benchmarked against control weather data for the period 1960–1989. The results show increasing internal operative temperatures (non-air-conditioned) and increasing air-conditioning demands (air-conditioned) throughout this century and though peak heating demands remain similar to control data, annual heating energy consumptions can be expected to fall sharply.

Practical applications: Currently, practitioners can use Test Reference Years for use in building energy simulations. In 2009, the CIBSE released Future Weather Years, which go further by allowing practitioners to explore the thermal and comfort behaviour of buildings at future time horizons thus helping to ‘future proof’ a design. In 2009, the United Kingdom Climate Impacts Programme released a new generation of climate change scenario data (the UKCP09 climate change projections) using probabilistic methods. These are the most comprehensive data yet and provides a greater degree of detail than was available to generate the CIBSE Future Weather Years. It is therefore likely that the new data will gradually become the normal basis for investigating future building thermal and comfort response. In this study, a sample of TRY is generated from the UKCP09 data and applied to the simulation of a sample of ‘real’ buildings. The results are compared with both the existing CIBSE Future Weather Years as well as with Test Reference Years generated using UKCP09 by two other research groups. The results provide a robust way forward for simulating building thermal and comfort response using future weather data.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)387-406
JournalBuilding Services Engineering Research and Technology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012


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