Home > Lifestyle > EnviroHealth > News Updated 28 March 2013 Cold cities less sustainable Living in colder climates in the US is more energy demanding than living in warmer climates. 0 iStock Related Earth is warmer today, say scientists Allergic children may tolerate warm milk Don't overheat in high temperatures Start A Health24 blog » Follow Health24 on Facebook » Test Are you envirohealth savvy? » Ask EnviroHealth Expert » Shark feeding frenzy caught on camera The recycling headache list Living in colder climates in the US is more energy demanding than living in warmer climates. This is according to Dr Michael Sivak at the University of Michigan, who has published new research in IOP Publishing's journal Environmental Research Letters. Dr Sivak has calculated that climate control in the coldest large metropolitan area in the country – Minneapolis – is about three-and-a-half times more energy demanding than in the warmest large metropolitan area – Miami. Dr Sivak calculated this difference in energy demand using three parameters: the number of heating or cooling degree days in each area; the efficiencies of heating and cooling appliances; and the efficiencies of power-generating plants. Not included in the analysis were the energy used to extract fuels from the ground, the losses during energy transmission, and energy costs. "It has been taken for a fact that living in the warm regions of the US is less sustainable than living in the cold regions, based partly on the perceived energy needs for climate control; however, the present findings suggest a re-examination of the relative sustainability of living in warm versus cold climates." Warm versus cold climatesHeating degree days (HDDs) and cooling degree days (CDDs) are climatological measures that are designed to reflect the demand for energy needed to heat or cool a building. They are calculated by comparing the mean daily outdoor temperature with 18°C. A day with a mean temperature of 10°C would have 8 HDDs and no CDDs, as the temperature is 8°C below 18°C. Analogously, a day with a mean temperature of 23°C would have 5 CDDs and no HDDs. Based on a previous study, Dr Sivak showed that Minneapolis has 4376 heating degree days a year compared to 2423 cooling degree days in Miami. In the study, Dr Sivak used a single measure for the efficiency of heating and cooling appliances, as most are currently rated using different measures so they cannot be directly compared. His calculations showed that a typical air conditioner is about four times more energy efficient than a typical furnace. "In simple terms, it takes less energy to cool a room down by one degree than it does to heat it up by one degree," said Dr Sivak. More energy demanding, less sustainable Grouping together climatology, the efficiency of heating and cooling appliances, and the efficiency of power-generating plants, Dr Sivak showed that Minneapolis was substantially more energy demanding than Miami. "In the US, the energy consumption for air conditioning is of general concern but the required energy to heat is often taken for granted. Focus should also be turned to the opposite end of the scale – living in cold climates such as in Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Rochester, Buffalo and Chicago is more energy demanding, and therefore less sustainable from this point of view, than living in warm climates such as in Miami, Phoenix, Tampa, Orlando and Las Vegas," Dr Sivak concluded. EurekAlert More in Lifestyle SA municipalities are discharging raw sewage into our river systems and wetland areas More: EnviroHealthNews SPONSORED: So many prizes! Click through and see our fantastic competitions. advertisement Get a quote Momentum - save up to 35% on healthcare advertisement Read Health24’s Comments Policy Comment on this story 0 comments Add your comment Thank you, your comment has been submitted. Logout Comment 0 characters remaining Share on Facebook Logout Comment 0 characters remaining Share on Facebook Loading comments... Other news Lifestyle SA municipalities are discharging raw sewage into our river systems and wetland areas Homepage What's Your Diagnosis Case 4: Seeing odd things Lifestyle Google says you might die soon...from a sore throat Diet and nutrition Cooking rice differently can cut the calories by half Medical Less sitting time improves health in type 2 diabetics Parenting Tips for healthy school lunches kids will actually eat Live healthier Hypertension » Salt may be bad for more than blood pressure Regularly salting foods heightens death risk How potassium fights high blood pressure Are you eating too much salt? Did you know that high blood pressure affects as many as 25% of adult South Africans? Do you have a sweet tooth? » What’s SA’s most sugary drink? Craving sugar? Blame your brain WHO says we're eating too much sugar 10 foods with hidden sugar Even if you don't have a sweet tooth, you might still be eating far more sugar than you think.