Indicator : indicator-heating-and-cooling-degree-days-2020

Indicator: Heating and Cooling Degree Days

2020 indicator

Key Points: Degree days reflect changes in climate and are used as an indicator for the energy demand for heating or cooling buildings (generally, fossil fuel demand for heating and electricity demand for cooling). Since around 1980, the number of heating degree days has decreased and the number of cooling degree days has increased relative to the 20th century average. The recent increase in cooling degree days is driven by more frequent days above 65°F and more frequent extreme high temperatures. About the Indicator: Heating and cooling degree days are calculated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Daily temperature values for each region of the United States are used to calculate departures from the 65°F baseline. These values are population-weighted using United States Census Bureau data, such that, for example, the same temperature produces more degree days in New York City than in rural Nebraska. Why It's Important: This indicator is used in utility planning and can support construction decisions. It provides information on the relationship between climate and energy use that can inform mitigation strategies. As temperatures continue to rise, combined changes in heating and cooling degree days are projected to change patterns of energy use and increase net electricity demand nationwide.

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