How Does Air Conditioning Affect Global Energy Consumption?
The United States air conditioning industry is worth an estimated 57 billion dollars, which makes a lot of sense considering how ubiquitous AC units have become. Results from the 2009 Residential Energy Consumption Survey for 2009 indicated that an estimated 87 percent of homes in the United States have air conditioning installed. As well, about 69 percent of all occupied residences have central air conditioning systems. As of 2011, the approximate number of U.S. homes in which air conditioners were installed was calculated at 75,748,000. That equates to a whole lot of people who could probably benefit from air conditioning efficiency tips!
Between 1993 to 2005, average summer temperatures increased, as did the size of family homes. During those years, the average amount of energy consumed by air conditioning doubled in the U.S. The United States consumed more air conditioning in 1980 than the total amount of air conditioning used by the entire rest of the global population put together. This imbalance in consumption is even more astounding when one considers that at the time, just 5 percent of the entire population of the world lived in the U.S.
Modern central air and heat units consume an enormous amount of energy. Since the second half of the 20th century, costs associated with heating and cooling systems have continued to rise. One reason for these increasing costs is exponentially higher worldwide consumption. Right now, central air and heat units are flying off store shelves all over the world. Approximately 55 percent of sales of new central air and heat units in 2012 took place in Asia. As standards of living continue to rise in Asia, it is expected that by the year 2020 China will surpass the United States in being the largest user of electricity for central air conditioning and heat units in the world.
The exponential increase in energy consumption by air conditioning units and heating systems will most likely result in higher rates of pollution and poorer air quality, not to mention driving global warming. Thus, it is in the best interest of everyone that environmentally friendly methods of heating and cooling are developed. The health of the planet depends on it.
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