Baby It’s Cold Inside

Designing for climate change.

The climate is changing and the world is experiencing extreme and unpredictable weather. As environmental designers, we have a responsibility to go beyond code and push for innovative principles and materials that make our built environment adaptable to future conditions.

In an effort to determine how resilient and livable our built environment currently is, Atelier Ten worked with Urban Green Council to perform an envelope study for the report Baby It’s Cold Inside. The report is a comparison of the indoor temperatures of New York City’s typical existing buildings to high-performing buildings of the same type under winter and summer blackout scenarios.

Atelier Ten developed building simulation models representative of five existing NYC building types using historical weather data. Two extreme scenarios were analyzed over a weeklong period: a February blackout including the loss of heat and a July blackout including the loss of cooling. These were compared to new buildings with high-performance facades, which were found to provide far greater habitability during a blackout in an extreme weather condition.

The collaboration between Urban Green and Atelier Ten has been significantly important as it has provided New York City and its residents the confirmation of the positive impact of more sustainable buildings. Atelier Ten’s team included Nico Kienzl, Emilie Hagen, and Michael Esposito.

Baby It’s Cold Inside is featured in the Wall Street Journal, WNYC, and the A/N Blog.