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The role of air conditioning in Net Zero

Can We Keep Cool Without Compromising Climate Goals?

Did you know that the recent heatwave in the UK resulted in a £66 million cooling bill for Brits? As temperatures soared, we all sought relief in our air-conditioned spaces. However, this dependence on air conditioning brings up an important question: Can we achieve our net-zero ambitions while keeping cool?

The Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S), funded by the EU, has emphasized that Earth has experienced its hottest three-month period ever recorded. The boreal summer (June–August) 2023 was the warmest on record globally by a large margin, with an average temperature of 16.77°C, 0.66°C above average. Temperatures over land for the boreal summer of 2023 were predominantly above the 1991-2020 average. The European-average temperature for boreal summer was 19.63°C, which at 0.83°C above average, was the fifth warmest boreal summer season.  For more information on the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) click here.

The global average temperature for July 2023 is confirmed to be the highest on record for any month. The month was 0.7°C warmer than the 1991-2020 average for July, and 0.3°C warmer than the previous warmest month, July 2019. The month is estimated to have been around 1.5°C warmer than the average for 1850-1900.

August 2023 is the warmest August on record, and warmer than all other months except July 2023. The global-mean surface air temperature of 16.82°C for August 2023 was 0.71°C warmer than the 1991-2020 average for August, and 0.31°C warmer than the previous warmest August in 2016. The month is estimated to have been around 1.5°C warmer than the preindustrial average for 1850-1900.

September 2023 was the warmest September on record globally, with an average surface air temperature of 16.38°C, 0.93°C above the 1991-2020 average for September and 0.5°C above the temperature of the previous warmest September, in 2020.

This remarkable streak has led to unprecedented sea surface temperatures and a surge in extreme weather events globally. With 2023 now set to be the warmest year in recorded history. Now is the time to look at the need for comfort cooling and how this fits our net zero ambitions.

Ipsos UK conducted a survey revealing that nearly 52% of Britons are more concerned about the escalating cost of living than climate change. Financial constraints hinder their desire to contribute more to environmental efforts. In fact, 55% of respondents believe that granting new oil and gas licenses in the North Sea, as committed by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, would decrease Britain’s reliance on foreign energy sources. There is an optimism shared by 47% of participants that this approach would positively impact the nation’s economy. These findings shed light on the balancing act between comfort, financial considerations, and climate action.

In the face of these challenges, it’s crucial to find a way to keep cool without compromising our climate goals. The good news is that we can achieve this balance through various means:

  1. Embracing energy-efficient cooling technologies: As we continue to innovate, new cooling systems focus on energy efficiency, implementing advanced insulation materials and equipment designs. By adopting these technologies, we can significantly reduce both the energy consumption and carbon footprint associated with cooling our spaces.
  2. Integrating renewable energy sources: Coupling air conditioning systems with renewable energy sources such as solar panels or geothermal systems is a promising approach. The decreasing cost of renewable energy makes this integration increasingly viable. By combining these technologies, we can keep cool while reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and combating climate change.
  3. Leveraging smart building design: The future of cooling lies in smart building design. Natural ventilation, shading strategies, and intelligent building automation systems can reduce the need for continuous air conditioning. By optimizing energy usage based on occupancy, weather forecasts, and internal heat loads, we can achieve both comfort and sustainability.

We stand at a pivotal moment where we can redefine the role of comfort cooling in our path to a net-zero future. At WAVE, we understand the importance of finding the balance between sustainability and comfort. We specialise in designing and delivering innovative solutions that allow you to maintain the desired level of heating and cooling while reducing your carbon footprint.

Ready to strike the perfect balance? Reach out to WAVE today and embark on your net zero journey that prioritizes both your cooling requirements and environmental responsibility. Together, let’s create a sustainable future.

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