The Future: More air conditioning; less heating

Climate change is expected to decrease heating demand and increase cooling demand for buildings and affect outdoor thermal comfort, according to research published in Scientific Reports, an online journal from the publishers of Scientific American.

Using a climate scenario that expects global mean surface temperatures to rise by more than 4 degrees Fahrenheit, two Stanford University researchers projected how the current "normal" annual number of heating and cooling degree days across the United States would compare to the totals for the end of this century.

The basic conclusion is that cooling degree-days (CDD) in areas of the country that currently have high CDD values will have relatively large increases in CDD values, whereas areas with smaller CDD values will experience relatively modest increases in CDD values.

Projections show that Washington state will have the smallest increase in CDD values and Southern Texas will have the greatest increases.

For heating degree-days (HDD), the researchers say parts of the country that currently have high HDD values will have relatively large decreases in HDD values, whereas areas with smaller HDD values will experience relatively modest decreases in HDD values.

Projections show that southern Florida will have the smallest decrease in HDD values while upper North Dakota, Minnesota, and Maine will have the greatest reduction in HDD values.

You can read the full report here.

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