In this recently published article we explore the impact of the increasing technomass (TM) on cooling demand in buildings in South America, analising the entangled double nature of the building–environment interrelation in an urban context. Using advanced spatially explicit quantitative methods to select representative samples of the urban environment we quantifed the volumes of TM in four South American cities. Principal component analysis was used to extract representative urban tissue categories and the Urban Weather Generator tool was used to produce the urban weather data used in building performance simulations.
Our results confirm a superlinear dependence of the total cooling consumption of each sample in relation to the existing TM in areas with high-rise buildings due to the combined primary and secondary effects, namely, the increase of the total energy needs and the increase of air temperature due to the urban heat island effect. The great significance of the second- order effect poses challenges to current assessments performed on the basis of consumption per m2. The use of the TM indicator can promote the development of climate-sensible urban planning.