PhD defense



Friday 8 December, 2023 at 2 pm
Auditorium 01 B37 Mathematics Institute
12 allée de la Découverte
4000 Liège

Modelling The Influence
of Climate Change on Heating,
Cooling Energy Demand, Thermal Comfort,
and GHG Emissions for the Building Stock in Belgium


In the context of escalating global climate change, understanding its multifaceted impact on buildings becomes imperative. 

This Ph.D. thesis is a comprehensive exploration of the impact of climate change on heating and cooling energy demands, final energy consumption, thermal comfort, and greenhouse gas emissions for residential buildings in Belgium. It encompasses both short-term (recurrent heatwaves) and long-term (global warming) climate change effects, with a specific focus on cooling systems. The research employs a simulation/numerical model, adopting a bottom-up approach to characterize the Belgian residential building stock. The thesis is divided into three main parts, each addressing critical aspects of the research :

  • Part 1 - Cooling Systems Review and Data Collection : In this section, two extensive studies delve into cooling technologies in Europe. The first chapter categorizes and analyzes alternative space cooling methods, highlighting the need for further development to enhance their efficiency and cost-effectiveness. The second chapter focuses on integrated active cooling systems, evaluating their resilience to challenges such as heatwaves and power outages.
  • Part 2 - Methodological Framework : This part lays the foundation for the thesis, comprising two key studies. The first study deals with the creation of weather data, an essential component for understanding climate impacts. The second study establishes the framework used throughout the thesis to calculate heating and cooling energy needs under various weather scenarios.
  • Part 3 - Application and Data Analysis : This section encompasses two pivotal studies. The first explores the practical application of resilient cooling systems within the building stock, emphasizing adaptable solutions in response to changing climate conditions. The second assesses the integration of both electricity-driven and gas-driven heat pumps into the building stock, examining their impact on energy consumption.


The following provides a concise summary of vital practical insights and recommendations derived from the research :

  • Alternative Cooling Technologies: Several alternative cooling technologies show promise in terms of energy efficiency and sustainability, but they may face challenges compared to conventional vapor compression systems. Policy support is essential to promote their adoption.
  • Resilience to Heatwaves: Thermal energy-driven cooling systems exhibit greater resilience to heatwaves compared to some electricity-driven systems. This resilience is influenced by factors like system integration with renewable energy sources.
  • Impact of Climate Change: Climate change is expected to lead to a significant increase in cooling energy demand and a decrease in heating energy demand in the Belgian building stock. The intensity and frequency of heatwaves are projected to rise significantly in the future.
  • Thermal Comfort: Thermal comfort can be significantly impacted by climate change. Resizing split cooling systems based on peak heatwave temperatures can enhance indoor thermal comfort.
  • Integration of Heat Pumps: The integration of heat pump technologies can reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions in the residential building stock. Both electricity-driven and gas-driven heat pumps offer viable options for achieving these benefits.

Overall, the thesis highlights the need for proactive measures to address the challenges posed by climate change on the Belgian residential building stock. Sustainable cooling technologies, resilient strategies and the integration of heat pumps are essential components of a comprehensive approach to building sustainability and climate adaptation.


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