Shift in Seasonal Climate Patterns Likely to Impact Residential Energy Consumption in the United States

Published in: Environmental Research Letters (2019). doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/ab22d2

by Deeksha Rastogi, James Scott Holladay, Katherine J. Evans, Benjamin Lee Preston, Moetasim Ashfaq

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We develop a highly-resolved ensemble of climate simulations and empirical relationships between weather and household energy consumption to provide one of the most detailed estimates to date for potential climate-driven changes in the United States residential energy demand under the highest greenhouse gas emissions pathway. Our results indicate that more intense and prolonged warm conditions will drive an increase in electricity demand while a shorter and milder cold season will reduce natural gas demand by the mid 21st century. The environmental conditions that favor more cooling degree days in summer and reduced heating degree days in winter are driven by changes in daily maximum temperatures and daily minimum temperatures in the respective seasons. Our results also indicate that climate driven change can potentially reverse impacts of a projected decrease in rural population on residential energy demand. These projected changes in climate-driven energy demand have implications for future energy planning and management.

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