Articles | Volume 16, issue 4
Research article
13 Apr 2016
Research article |  | 13 Apr 2016

The role of building models in the evaluation of heat-related risks

Oliver Buchin, Britta Jänicke, Fred Meier, Dieter Scherer, and Felix Ziegler

Abstract. Hazard–risk relationships in epidemiological studies are generally based on the outdoor climate, despite the fact that most of humans' lifetime is spent indoors. By coupling indoor and outdoor climates with a building model, the risk concept developed can still be based on the outdoor conditions but also includes exposure to the indoor climate. The influence of non-linear building physics and the impact of air conditioning on heat-related risks can be assessed in a plausible manner using this risk concept.

For proof of concept, the proposed risk concept is compared to a traditional risk analysis. As an example, daily and city-wide mortality data of the age group 65 and older in Berlin, Germany, for the years 2001–2010 are used. Four building models with differing complexity are applied in a time-series regression analysis. This study shows that indoor hazard better explains the variability in the risk data compared to outdoor hazard, depending on the kind of building model. Simplified parameter models include the main non-linear effects and are proposed for the time-series analysis. The concept shows that the definitions of heat events, lag days, and acclimatization in a traditional hazard–risk relationship are influenced by the characteristics of the prevailing building stock.

Short summary
Heat-related risk analysis is based on outdoor climates; however, humans are mostly exposed to indoor climates. A novel heat-related risk concept is developed, which includes exposition to the indoor climate. An exemplary calculation of heat-related mortality reveals that the influence of building physics better explains the variability in the risk data. Simplified building models can be used for indoor hazard calculation as long as the main non-linear effects of the buildings are included.
Final-revised paper