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Combating Climate Change and its Impact on Cities: What is Our Role?

Jan 10, 2014
Contact: Jodi Scott
Public Relations

2014 Winter Conference
ATLANTA – Has the time come to change the way we design, build and operate cities in order to deal with climate change?

Speakers in a seminar at ASHRAE’s 2014 Winter Conference share their thoughts on how the built environment profession can play a role in combating climatic conditions. One even poses the questions whether such a role should be mandated by law.

“We have international law protecting people, why not a law protecting the Earth,” speaker George Adams, president of the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE), poses. “At least 70 percent of current coal, oil and gas reserves must stay put to limit climate change. Yet coal use rose by over 50 percent during 2000 to 2010. As we head toward 70 percent of the world's population being in cities, the increasing impacts of 'heat islands' are creating their own climates. I plan to discuss the status of cities and why the 5th international law is needed in addressing climate change impacts. Re-engineering energy supply and adaptation of the built environment is the key to success.”

Adams noted that in March 2010 international lawyer Polly Higgins proposed to the United Nations that Ecocide be the 5th Crime Against Peace. Such a move would require 86 signatures from the heads of United Nations member states to make one amendment to the Rome Statute.

ASHRAE’s 2014 Winter Conference, takes place Jan. 18-22, at the New York Hilton, New York, N.Y. The International Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Expo®, held in conjunction with the Winter Conference, runs Jan. 21-23,  www.ahrexpo.com. The Expo, held at the Javits Convention Center, takes place Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday as opposed to the traditional Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
For complete Conference information and to register, visit www.ashrae.org/newyork.

The seminar, Engineering our Cities to Meet and Beat the Challenges of Climate Change, takes place Sunday, Jan. 19. It is part of a track focused on International Design.

“The engineering, landscaping, and building communities are in an ideal position to reduce the impact of cities on climate as well as creating and operating safe and effective cities in future climates that are likely to be 2 C warmer than today,” seminar chair Tim Dwyer,  Bartlett School of Graduate Studies, University College London, London, United Kingdom, said.  “Our speakers consider how climate change will impact the HVAC&R professional, how systems are already failing to meet demands of a warming climate, and the impact that increasingly challenging environment has on air-conditioning systems. It concludes by considering the status of cities and why the 5th international law is needed to halt core causes of climate change.”

Presentations and speakers include:

  • Preparing Our Cities for a Changing Climate,  Hywel Davies, Ph.D., CIBSE,  London, England
  • Air Conditioning Failures: Now and Future, David Arnold, Ph.D., London South Bank University, London, United Kingdom
  • The Missing 5th International Law: Time to Protect the Earth and Our Cities, Adams.

Other sessions in the International Design track include:

  • Maintaining Occupant Comfort Levels while Minimizing Energy Impact, Sunday, Jan. 19
  • Cutting Edge Japanese Technologies (Systems and Equipment): Society of Heating, Air-Conditioning and Sanitary Engineers of Japan (SHASE) Annual Award for New Buildings in 2013, Sunday, Jan. 19
  • Cutting Edge Japanese Technologies (Systems and Equipment): SHASE Annual Award for Retrofitted Buildings in 2013, Monday, Jan. 20
  • Papers presented in Conference Paper Session 8A, Monday, Jan. 20
  • Cutting Edge Japanese Technologies (Indoor Environmental Health/ Quality): SHASE Annual Award for Separate Sensible Heat and Latent Heat Process Systems in 2013, Monday, Jan. 20
  • Cutting Edge Japanese Technologies (Improving Building Performance through Commissioning, Operation and Maintenance): SHASE Annual Award for Ongoing Commissioning of Energy Performance in 2013, Monday, Jan. 20
  • Improving Sustainability through Mitigation of Refrigerant Emissions: International Institute of Refrigeration (IIR) Working Party Seminar, Monday, Jan. 20
  • Sustainable Development in Africa, Tuesday, Jan. 21
  • European Union: Practical Benchmarking of HVAC System Energy Efficiency, Tuesday, Jan. 21

ASHRAE, founded in 1894, is a building technology society with more than 50,000 members worldwide. The Society and its members focus on building systems, energy efficiency, indoor air quality, refrigeration and sustainability. Through research, standards writing, publishing, certification and continuing education, ASHRAE shapes tomorrow’s built environment today.