The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), with funding assistance from the Australian Government, has developed up-to-date weather data for use in building energy simulation software.
This data can be used to simulate commercial building designs against expected weather conditions to test performance, including assessing the effects of a changing climate. This will assist the design of new buildings that are more resilient to climate change.
Two types of weather files are available for commercial building modelling:
Typical meteorological year (TMY) weather files. These files contain hourly weather data for a typical meteorological year in 83 Australian locations. They are based on historical weather data covering the years 1990 to 2015.
Predictive weather files, morphed from the typical meteorological year files. These files contain hourly weather data for 83 Australian locations under 3 future climate scenarios for 4 future years (2030, 2050, 2070, or 2090).
The data can be downloaded for free as a zipfile from CSIRO's Ag Climate Data Shop. It is available in 2 formats:
- In .epw format that can be used by building energy simulation software such as EnergyPlus, ESP-r, and IESVE.
- In a weather file format suitable for building energy simulations using Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS) software such as AccuRate, BERSPro, FirstRate5, and HERO in non-regulatory mode.
Detailed user guides for both the TMY and predictive files are available on the website.
Research has shown that current industry standard weather files for building simulation may not be suited to assess the potential impacts of a changing climate, in particular summer overheating risks.
To examine this issue, in 2020 the Australian Government commissioned consultants DeltaQ to explore future climate risk in building energy modelling. The resulting report found that commercial building modellers were using weather data from as far back as 1982. The report identified a need for reliable weather data that better reflects the climate in which buildings will operate.
The predictive weather data is based on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) scenarios (RCP2.6, RCP4.5 & RCP8.5).
Find out more about future climate scenarios in IPCC AR5 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).