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 Pin It 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 » Sirens of the Lambs Bugs in your bed 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 Why mosquitoes bite us More: EnviroHealthNews advertisement Get a quote Bestmed - offering you quality healthcare and freedom of choice Momentum - save up to 35% on healthcare Medihelp - quality, affordable medical scheme cover 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 Medical Caffeine and alcohol affect your DNA Lifestyle Why mosquitoes bite us Fitness It's never too late to start exercising Lifestyle Good body image tied to happier relationships Medical 135 million will have dementia by 2050 Parenting 'Sensory integration' may help autistic kids From our sponsors Your retirement - a healthy mindset So many people, why so alone? You can still enjoy the sweet things in life Take the sugar test, it could save your life. Live healthier Child nutrition » Your child's nutrition Nutrition for schoolkids Diets for toddlers The parent's guide to food labels Making sense of food labels and matching them to the needs of family members can be a challenge. Here are some tips from dietician Megan Pentz-Kluyts. Financial wellness » Money disappointments Investment tips Financially freaked out? High debt may have negative health consequences A new study found that high financial debt is associated with higher blood pressure and poorer general and mental health in young adults.