Building Energy Modeling and Resilient Department of Defense Installations: Accounting for Climate Change

March, 2023
IDA document: D-33432
FFRDC: Systems and Analyses Center
Type: Documents
Division: Science and Technology Division
Jennifer L. Bewley, Zachary M. Berzolla See more authors
As the Department of Defense (DOD) pursues climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts per the 2021 Climate Adaptation Plan, substantial resources will need to be funneled into its portfolio of 300,000 buildings across installations worldwide. The DOD has already begun to take action, with over $3.2 billion in Energy Savings Performance Contracts (ESPCs) awarded to companies to carry out energy efficiency projects for the DOD, with another $1 billion currently in development. Building energy models (BEMs) have been widely adopted to help design new buildings or retrofit old ones to be more resilient, use less energy, and reduce emissions. However, current best practices in BEM do not yet fully incorporate climate change into simulations, and those that do often rely on outdated or untested models. Some BEM practitioners across the private sector and government are incorporating ensemble general climate models (GCMs) using statistical downscaling into their BEMs, but methods and reproducibility are lacking and extreme weather is rarely, if ever, accounted for. BEM practitioners would benefit from a standardized, widely available dataset and best practices to incorporate climate change into the field more widely and to better evaluate buildings against resiliency and efficiency criteria for the future. This report highlights the current approaches and challenges in accounting for climate change in BEMs that are relevant to DOD buildings and infrastructure.