Anthropogenic heat from buildings in Los Angeles County: A simulation framework and assessment

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Journal Article

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Anthropogenic heat (AH), i.e., waste heat from buildings to the ambient environment, increases urban air temperature and contributes to the urban heat island effect, which leads to more air-conditioning energy use and higher associated waste heat during summer, forming a positive feedback loop. This study used a bottom-up simulation approach to develop a dataset of the annual hourly AH profiles for 1.7 million buildings in Los Angeles (LA) County for the year 2018 aggregated at three spatial resolutions: 450 m, 12 km, and the census tract. Building AH exhibits strong seasonal and diurnal patterns, as well as large spatial variations across the urban areas. Building AH peaks in May and reaches a maximum of 878 W/m2 within one of several AH hotspots in the region. Among the three major AH components (surface convection, heat rejection from HVAC systems, and zonal air exchange), the surface convection component is the largest, accounting for 78% of the total building AH across LA County. Higher AH is attributed to large building density, a high percentage of industrial buildings, and older building stock. While AH peaks during the day, the resulting ambient temperature increases are much larger during the night. During the July 2018 heatwave in LA County, building AH (excluding the surface component) leads to a daily maximum ambient temperature increase of up to 0.6 °C and a daily minimum ambient temperature increase of up to 2.9 °C. It is recommended that reducing summer building AH should be considered by policy makers in developing mitigation measures for cities to transition to clean energy while improving heat resilience.


Sustainable Cities and Society



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