Study: Air Conditioning is Warming Phoenix

A study investigates the effect of air conditioning systems on air temperature and electricity demand. The study's findings: the release of waste heat (via AC systems) exacerbates the nocturnal urban heat island, thus increasing cooling demands.

"In Phoenix, a team from the University of Arizona found that air conditioning didn't make much of a difference in outdoor daytime temperatures, but at night, when temperatures drop to about 80 degrees, heat pushed outside by air conditioning heated up the ambient air by as much as two degrees," reports Lloyd Alter.

Alter is sharing the news of the study (titled "Anthropogenic heating of the urban environment due to air conditioning"), first detailed by Candace Pearson at BuildingGreen (that article is blocked by a paywall). Alter shares this snippet from the BuildingGreen article: "With extreme heat projected to increase this century, this positive feedback loop could prove a public-health concern or put further strain on electrical grids; in Phoenix, energy used for cooling already sometimes rises to half of the region’s total electrical consumption."

Full Story: Phoenix is cooking the planet to refrigerate its buildings


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