Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Those Summertime Blues

Canada, like America (only a bit different), is heating up. Summer days are getting hotter. Summer nights are getting hotter still. Demands on power grids for air conditioning are soaring.

Climate Central has posted charts for major American cities that graphically depict what's going on across the States this year.

A ...way to measure the increase in heat is cooling degree days (CDD), which are used to determine how much cooling is needed to keep a building at a comfortable temperature. CDDs do not actually measure days at all. Rather, they measure the number of degrees that the daily average temperature is above 65°F. So if the average temperature for a day is 80°F, there were 15 CDDs in that day. Some of the largest increases in CDDs are also seen in the Southwest, however CDDs are increasing sharply in places that traditionally did not need air conditioning in the summer months. For example, the number of CDDs has nearly doubled in San Francisco and Portland, Oregon in the last half-century.
Accompanying that is a chart depicting the change in demand for cooling.

Cooling costs are rising as a result. Air conditioning already makes up the largest share of residential electricity use (17 percent) in the U.S., with Americans spending over $27 billion to cool their homes in 2015. The average annual cost for homes with air conditioning across the U.S. is approximately $250, but in the high use areas of the South, air conditioning costs are almost $450 a year. A 2014 Climate Central analysis of projected future summer temperaturesshows that by 2100, New England summers will be as hot as current summers in Florida, dramatically increasing the need for artificial cooling. 
Hotter days also increase the risk of heat-related illnesses like heat stroke, and warming nights make it more difficult for the body to recover from the heat of the day. Heat waves are usually associated with stagnant air, which also increases air pollution and the vulnerability to respiratory illnesses such as asthma.
You can see that the heating and cooling trend is going one way, sharply up.

The good news is that eastern Canada is in for a break, at least a couple of weeks reprieve from another heatwave. The American south probably won't be so lucky.


Jay Farquharson said...

Because of economics, Regulatory Capture, Governments are trapped in inaction or weak action.

It's up to "us" to create the change.

I live in the Southern Interior. I make my own power, ( wind, solar), I heat my house with wood and solar, I heat my water with solar, I cool my house with solar powered Texas AC.

When I lived in Maple Ridge, I added Texas AC to my furnace, added a fan only feature and a Brushless DC fan motor that drew 4 watts. The Texas AC was just pvc pipes trenched into the yard, 4 feet down, connected to the fresh air intake. In the summer, it cooled the incoming air down to 15c before the fan circulated it around the house. In winter, it preheated the incoming air to 14c, saving me 80% on my heating bills.

It's up to us to make the change we want to see.

Anonymous said...

Looks like you are doing right things Jay, but heating with the extremely polluting wood stove? Hope that you do not have neighbours close by.

The Mound of Sound said...

That sounds like an awesome heating/cooling system, Jay. Yet we both know that it will not happen on a mass scale, not without incentives and strong leadership. We are a petro-state which is the most powerful disincentive, a roadblock to transitioning to alternative, clean energy. Yes it is political capture but how many Liberals can imagine their party, the party of Justin, has so completely succumbed?

Jay Farquharson said...


Since 1997, Canada has required all wood stoves and pellet stove sold meet 97% standards, so they are as clean burning as the best models of gas or oil furnaces and boilers.

I grow my own wood, cut my own wood, season my own wood, compost the ashes and coals, ( permachar), so aside from the gas and oil used in the chainsaw, it's carbon neutral.

Jay Farquharson said...

My powerfull incentive was to cut $1200 off my annual heating/cooling bill and put the money instead into my mortgage.

Anonymous said...

LMFAO or not but a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, Jay.
A wood stove will never be as clean as a gas or even an oil furnace.

Jay Farquharson said...


In conclusion, wood in a low moisture content state has lower instantaneous CO2 emissions per unit of energy produced than coal. As we have clearly shown in our previous papers, with sustainable working forest management, the recycling of carbon from wood combustion is virtually instantaneous and continuous and therefore the net stock of CO2 in the atmosphere from the combustion of wood is not increased."


The funny thing almost nobody gets, is you have to look at the net, not the one point.

How much pollution and emissions created through the full cycle of the energy source, from start, to finish, not just what comes out "your chimney",

So, the exhaust of the exploration trucks, the drilling rigs, the sour gas leaks, the fuel and lube spills, the slash burns of the site preps, the flareing, the refining process, the compression and transport, then what comes out of your chimney, then well remediation, capping, site cleaning and replanting.

Just because a huge amount of those emissions and pollution don't take place next door to you, doesn't matter, pollution and emissions don't respect borders, and in the case of Climate change, "your carbon footprint", includes "theirs".

It's a concept far to advanced for the "atomic scientists", sure, atomic energy is relatively "green", as long as you never, ever account for anything that happens before the reactor, or anything that happens after the reactor. If you take that into account, well then Tar Sands are about 80% "greener" than nukes.

Toby said...

Hotter than hell all day. Evening Thunder & lightning; no rain. The water bombers are up and working.

Jay Farquharson said...


Bombers were working hard yesterday, south towards Merritt, but todays been quiet, no lightning,

Cleared my fire lines this week.

The Mound of Sound said...

LMFAO - Jay's right. I too heat my home through the winter with a high-efficiency wood stove/fireplace.

My wood is scavenged. When forestry companies clear an area there is a percentage of wood scrap that has no commercial value. Ordinarily this leftover would be bulldozed into a big pile and set alight. Now the forestry companies licence firewood suppliers to gather up that waste wood, buck it, split it and sell it to people like me. My high efficiency firebox transforms a small quantity of that wood into enough heat for the entire day, thanks in no small part to modern insulation codes.

In the height of winter (I know, here on the island, that's nothing), I can light a fire for three or four hours to relax in the evening and there'll be enough heat to carry me through until the following day. It helps immensely that (a) I prefer a cold house and (b) that I fend off the cold as needed during the day with flannel shirts and sweaters as need be.

Northern PoV said...

Some spots warming faster than others.
Quick, grab an air mattress or two.

"In northern Ellesmere Island, the annual average temperature in the region increased by 3.6C between 1948 and 2016." per the Guardian

Toby said...

Jay wrote, "It's up to us to make the change we want to see."

He's right as far as it goes. The big problem is that we collective little people really don't add up to much. The other day there was a piece about flaring from North Dakota fracking operations emitting as much CO2 as a billion cars. 16 super-sized container ships emit more crap into the air than all the cars in North America. Just the ships moored in English Bay (Vancouver) emit more than all the cars in the Fraser Valley.

My numbers are probably not perfect (neither is my memory) but you get the point. Huge corporate interests are dumping crap at an untenable rate; what you and I do to ameliorate the problems is but a trickle. We may assuage our guilt but not much more.

Anonymous said...

Yesterday in Southern Alberta, it was 37.4 C. Today the same. Anyong.