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Increasing urban overheating risk from cooling decarbonisation by heat pumps

This project explores the potential exacerbation of urban overheating risks in the UK due to the increased adoption of heat pumps for cooling.

Transitioning to heat pump technology for building cooling, a key strategy in the UK's net-zero carbon vision for 2050, could inadvertently intensify urban heat islands and overheating risks. As climate change is anticipated to heighten the demand for building cooling, the deployment of heat pumps is seen as a sustainable countermeasure. However, the heat output from these systems could significantly raise outdoor temperatures, particularly affecting those in heatwave-prone urban areas who lack access to air conditioning.

The project sets out to quantify and model the impact of heat pump-induced heat emissions on urban microclimates and assess how these changes could influence indoor heat exposure, especially in densely populated or vulnerable communities. By developing a sophisticated building-urban climate model that integrates the thermal effects of heat pumps, the research aims to identify and analyse patterns of increased heat stress in urban settings.

Principle investigator

Picture of Zhiwen Luo

Professor Zhiwen Luo

Chair in Architectural and Urban Science

+44 29208 70463

Postdoctoral research assistant

Dr XiaoXiong Xie