Assessment of energy and thermal resilience performance to inform climate mitigation of multifamily buildings in disadvantaged communities

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Journal Article

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The compound impacts of heatwaves and power outages pose a serious indoor heat-related health risk for residents living in disadvantaged communities (DACs) with limited or no air conditioning. In this study we selected 13 heat vulnerable multifamily buildings in El Monte, in Los Angeles County, and employed CityBES to evaluate their energy and thermal resilience performance. A retrofit package with seven passive and low-power active measures—cool roof, cool wall, window solar film, air sealing, internal blinds, natural ventilation, and ceiling fan—was evaluated under 2018 weather conditions and projected 2058 future weather conditions. Results show: (1) under the 2018 weather conditions, the retrofit package reduces the peak electricity load by 19 % and reduces the annual energy cost by $183 per housing unit; (2) the housing units without air conditioning would face heat danger conditions throughout the heatwave period. Although the retrofit package could reduce the heat danger hours by 50 % in 2018 and 34 % in 2058, air conditioning is a life-essential need for residents during heatwaves. These results indicate that, during the decision making of energy and climate retrofits for housing in DACs, policymakers and building owners should consider the co-benefits of reducing indoor heat-related mortality while reducing energy cost.


Sustainable Cities and Society



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