Report: Are British Columbians addicted to air conditioning?

A new report from BC Hydro indicates British Columbians are increasingly turning to air conditioning to beat the heat.

According to new report from BC Hydro, British Columbians are increasingly turning on their air conditioning to beat the summer heat in our province.

The report, Cold comfort: The rising use (and cost) of air conditioning in B.C., reveals that A/C use in the province has more than tripled to 34 per cent since 2001.

This upward trend will likely continue as 25 per cent of British Columbians are considering purchasing an air conditioner this summer.

“Record heat and long stretches of dry weather are becoming the new norm in the province, and BC Hydro’s meteorologists are predicting another hot summer this year,” said Chris O’Riley, BC Hydro’s president and chief operating officer.

“While we typically see higher electricity demand in the cold, dark winter months, summer demand for power is rising largely due to higher A/C usage.”

Related: Another sizzling summer for the Okanagan

Related: Heat wave could lead to record-breaking electricity use: BC Hydro

More homes in the Southern Interior use air conditioning than any other region in B.C. This is not surprising given places such as Osoyoos, Lytton and Penticton are often among Canada’s summer hot spots.

However, the use of air conditioners province-wide is growing as well.

In the relatively moderate climate of south coastal B.C., a trend towards high-rise apartments – often glass-walled with little air flow – is helping to drive A/C adoption.

In the past three years, the use of portable or room air conditioners in the Lower Mainland has grown by 23 per cent.

BC Hydro wants residents to know that their cool inside comfort comes at a cost.

Numbers show that running a central air conditioner for nine hours a day over the summer costs around $300, compared to just $6 for a fan for the same amount of time.

A recent survey commissioned by BC Hydro also found 93 per cent of British Columbians are adding to their energy bills by setting A/C units lower than the BC Hydro-recommended 25 C.

For example:

  • 20 per cent of respondents in the Lower Mainland and on Vancouver Island set their thermostat between 17 C and 19 C.
  • 32 per cent of residents in the north set their thermostat between 17 C and 19 C.

BC Hydro says it is estimated that every degree lower an air conditioner is set can increase cooling costs by three per cent.

Adding to those costs, more than 40 per cent of British Columbians surveyed said they always or sometimes leave their air conditioners running when they are not at home.

The survey results show that residents in the Southern Interior tend to be the best at guarding their homes from heat – and setting their air conditioning units at the recommended temperature.

Whether you have air conditioning or not, BC Hydro says there is more British Columbians can do to beat the heat and save money?:

  • Only half surveyed said they close the windows or doors when the temperature outside is hotter than the temperature inside.
  • About 25 per cent of those surveyed do not shade windows. Shading windows can block out up to 65 per cent of the heat.
  • 37 per cent of respondents leave fans on when they are not at home. Fans do not cool the air, but they do have a cooling effect on the skin.

Here are BC Hydro’s best tips to beat the heat and reduce energy costs.

You can read BC Hydro’s full report below.

BC Hydro full Report – The Rising Cost (and Use) of Air Conditioning in BC by Anonymous xWYSmS on Scribd

For more information click here.

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@carmenweld
carmen.weld@bpdigital.ca

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