Photo: Melbourne sunset by Krista Pumale (Unsplash)

This work describes a new cross-scale modelling framework for urban environments and applies it to calculate how electricity and gas demand will change under future climate change and air conditioner (AC) ownership scenarios. The approach captures interactions across building, urban and atmosphere scales at a high temporal resolution at any location worldwide, with this case-study based in Melbourne, Australia.

The low computational cost of the framework allows us to undertake century-scale simulations, an order of magnitude longer than previous coupled building-urban-atmosphere studies. In addition, we are able to quantify climate projection variability by using an ensemble of future climate states.

Rapid urbanisation and uptake in ACs worldwide, changing energy networks, climate change and the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions make this an impactful and timely study. The building energy demand, urban climate and global climate modelling systems are open-source and model outputs are also available across the century at half-hour timesteps.