According to International Energy Agency (IEA), demand for cooling is likely to grow strongly in the coming decades with rising incomes and a hotter climate. In fact, space cooling is the fastest growing end‐use for energy in buildings since 2000.
In its recent report titled, ‘Net Zero by 2050’, IEA states that space cooling represented only 5% of total buildings energy consumption worldwide in 2020, but demand for cooling is likely to grow strongly in the coming decades with rising incomes and a hotter climate.
“In the NZE (Net Zero Energy), 60% of households have an air conditioner in 2050, up from 35% in 2020. High‐performance building envelopes, including bioclimatic designs and insulation, can reduce the demand for space cooling by 30‐50%, while providing greater resilience during extreme heat events. In the NZE, electricity demand for space cooling grow annually by 1% to reach 2500 TWh in 2050. Without 2000 TWh of savings from residential building envelope improvements and higher efficiency equipment, space cooling demand would be almost twice as high,” says the report.
According to IEA, energy use in buildings will be increasingly focused on electric, electronic and connected equipment and appliances. The share of electricity in energy consumption in buildings will rise from 33% in 2020 to around two‐thirds in 2050 in the NZE, with many buildings incorporating decentralised electricity generation using local solar PV panels, battery storage and EV chargers. The number of residential buildings with solar PV panels will increase from 25 million to 240 million over the same period, the report said.