Solar protection is the first obstacle to overheating of buildings


According to a study carried out by Guidehouse, the importance of introducing mandatory automated solar protection in the European Energy Efficiency of Buildings Directive (EPBD) shows the importance of solar control.
Smart solar protection could reduce energy consumption for space cooling in European buildings by up to 60% in 2050. It would also prevent 100 million tonnes of CO2 emissions and save €285 billion. These are the results of scientific research carried out by Guidehouse, the first consulting entity to compare the impact of sun protection with the use of air conditioning in buildings.

According to ES-SO, an organization that brings together the European sun protection sector and of which Griesser is an active part, this study demonstrates the existence of an urgent need to automate sun protection so that buildings are more resistant to the climate and more energy efficient. Hence the ES-SO's interest in the European Energy Efficiency of Buildings Directive (EPBD) establishing this obligation.

Combat overheating in buildings
ES-SO, as an umbrella organisation, is convinced that automated sun protection is the best defense against climate change and could be part of the structural solution. Based on the results obtained in the Guidehouse study, ES-SO urges EU policy makers to make sun protection mandatory within the framework of the European Energy Efficiency of Buildings Directive, as a first solution - before resort to active cooling, such as air conditioning - in the fight against overheating.

Anders Hall, President of ES-SO, says: “Today, buildings are the largest consumers of energy in Europe. They consume 40% of our energy and are responsible for 36% of greenhouse gas emissions. The results of the Guidehouse study are definitely impressive, as they demonstrate potential energy savings of up to 60% in cooling buildings by 2050. This research confirms that measures should not be delayed any longer, and that solar protection should constitute the first solution to combat overheating of buildings. “We must set our sights on a future where buildings are more climate-resilient and less dependent on energy.”

Sun protection versus air conditioning
Climate change is accompanied by higher temperatures and longer and more intense heat waves. It is estimated that the number of buildings that will require air conditioning will increase by 60%. In its study, Guidehouse, an entity that provides advisory services in public and commercial markets around the world, has analyzed the impact of solar protection against the use of air conditioning in buildings.
The simulations and the various scenarios are considerably conclusive: if smart sun protection is used as a first measure before resorting to active cooling (preferred scenario), we should be able to stop the increase in buildings requiring air conditioning between now and 2050.

Positive impact of sun protection
The results of the Guidehouse study demonstrate the essential positive effect that automated sun protection has, not only on the planet, but also on society and people.
Shady Attia, professor of Sustainable Architecture and Construction Technology at the University of Liege (Belgium) says that sun protection could potentially make an immense contribution to the European Green Deal. «Today, less than 50% of buildings are equipped with solar protection systems, and a large proportion of them are not automated. The results of the Guidehouse study confirm my strong belief that shading is a much better solution for our planet than air conditioning, and that we urgently need to consider automated shading to make buildings more weather-resistant. climate and more energy efficient.
The positive effects that the use of sun protection systems has on the planet are a CO2 reduction strategy. In the preferred scenario proposed by the Guidehouse study, approximately 100 million cumulative tons of greenhouse gas emissions (*) could be avoided from now until 2050. This reduction in tons of emissions is equivalent to the annual CO2 emissions of 22 million cars.

These effects for society begin with an energy saving strategy as the first measure. In the preferred scenario, solar shading can reduce the energy used for space cooling in the EU building stock by 60%. According to the Guidehouse study, this energy saving (corresponding to approximately 870 Terawatt hours of electricity) is roughly equivalent to the final energy consumption of Spain, which has 47 million inhabitants.
And as for people, the benefits are seen in a strategy oriented towards profitability. Research shows that solar protection is a much more profitable investment than active cooling of spaces, such as air conditioning, since it would save up to 285 billion euros from now until 2050. This amount is similar to the GDP of countries like Finland and Luxembourg together.

(*) The CO2 factors are in accordance with the Impact Assessment carried out by the EPBD in 2021 and are based on the 2030 Climate Objective Plan of the European Commission.

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