Relationship of thermal performance rating, summer indoor temperatures and cooling energy use in 107 homes in Melbourne, Australia

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

33 Scopus Citations
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-168
Journal / PublicationEnergy and Buildings
Online published23 Dec 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2016


Better understanding is needed of building thermal performance as a mediator between climate and health outcomes. There is concern that current dwelling energy conservation strategies that focus on keeping warm in winter may lead to overheating and heat stress in summer or an increased use of cooling energy. Drawing on public health methodologies to predict heat related health outcomes, this study has standardised three-day averaged mean indoor to outdoor temperatures from 107 homes in Melbourne, Australia, to test the influence of the residential energy efficiency rating on the living room temperatures in summer. At the heat wave threshold of 25°C, on average, better rated 6-Star homes were 0.89°C warmer than 4- or 5-Star rated homes. At this reference temperature, air-conditioned 6-Star homes used 15.84 kWh/day electric cooling energy more to achieve the same living room temperature as 3-Star rated homes. The findings confirm the results of simulation studies that found increased fabric insulation may be associated with increased summer indoor temperatures, risk of heat stress and cooling energy in a mild temperate climate. Hence, it is recommended that residential thermal performance ratings should evaluate the dwelling's performance for each season independently and that cooling through natural ventilation and shading be promoted.

Research Area(s)

  • Air conditioning, Australia, Cooling energy, Health, Heatwave, Houses, Summer, Thermal performance

Bibliographic Note

Full text of this publication does not contain sufficient affiliation information. With consent from the author(s) concerned, the Research Unit(s) information for this record is based on the existing academic department affiliation of the author(s).